Almost a third of property professionals do not think their anti-money laundering compliance would stand up to scrutiny by UK customs, according to a survey by Credas Technologies.
The AML Platform report found that 45% of real estate professionals carry out their own AML checks, with 13% adding that any failure of their checks does not matter as they believe they will “never be under fire” of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
He found that professionals faced with a lack of resources and the pandemic boom in the real estate market gave little importance to AML issues.
Only 37% believe anti-money laundering is the most important issue they face compared to other factors such as performance goals and additional revenue opportunities.
The survey found that 23% of professionals said meeting personal performance goals was more important than AML, 14% prioritized securing additional revenue opportunities such as commission on a sale, while 26% placed both factors above AML compliance in terms of importance.
However, only 11% of professionals would intentionally turn a blind eye to AML compliance to meet performance goals or secure additional revenue opportunities, while 9% said they might do so unintentionally.
She revealed that 11% of professionals said the cost of living crisis could cause them to turn a blind eye to AML compliance to improve their financial situation.
Three-quarters of respondents had received money laundering training, although only 16% had been trained by a professional anti-money laundering company.
However, the industry wants more action to be taken to prevent money laundering, with 87% of professionals believing that AML checks should be a legal requirement for buyers and sellers before they are allowed to submit a offer or give instructions to an agent.
The report adds that 90% of respondents would also like to see HMRC be more proactive in helping the industry rather than just issuing fines for non-compliance.
Credas Technologies Managing Director Tim Barnett said: “There is no doubt that the real estate industry is still finding its feet when it comes to AML compliance and it is telling that almost a third of professionals in the industry do not think their AML compliance procedures would stand up to the challenge. HMRC scrutiny.
“However, it is fair to say that this is due to a lack of resources rather than an anti-AML attitude, with many struggling with workplace pressures caused by the pandemic housing market boom.
“The in-house execution of AML checks undoubtedly adds to this workload and, coupled with the sporadic level of training in spotting the warning signs of money laundering, it is no surprise that the industry shout for help.
“The good news is that the majority of real estate professionals realize the important role they play in preventing money laundering through the industry and they would like to see more effort put into helping them win this fight.