Commenting on the findings of a new study that found the UK is second on the list of global money laundering hotspots with an estimated £88 billion laundered every year, Stuart Whaley said: “Money laundering, and its links to organised crime, are a serious global problem, with £1.8 trillion laundered globally each year.
“According to the figures from identity verification software maker Credas Technologies, compiled using OECD data, the UK is second on the list of global money laundering hotspots, with an estimated total that accounts for some three percent of total GDP.”
Index East Anglia is the region’s number one provider of conveyancing searches, reports and workflow solutions for property professionals.
Stuart adds: “Technology is key to reducing money laundering, and it is essential property professionals use systems that highlight suspicious activity and verify user ID.
“With high and rising fraud in the UK and the country’s buoyant property market, estate agents, lenders and conveyancers alike must protect themselves, and work with specialists using the latest proptech to avoid breaking the law.
“This is why our proptech product and solutions portfolio includes Credas, which meets the Safe Harbour Standards set by HMLR for digital AML checks, and assists compliance with AML legislation by confirming an end-users’ address, DOB, mortality and presence on Politically Exposed Persons.
“Furthermore, with the ‘personal wallet’ coming soon in the UK – probably Quarter 4 of this year – which will include AML information, property professionals who embrace proptech now can help tackle money laundering, as well as save time and costs.
Currently, buyers and sellers have AML searches run at each stage of the property transaction, so by the estate agent, conveyancing solicitor, and mortgage lender. “If they have a personal wallet, the AML will only have to be run once, with other companies paying a small fee to access the information, saving time and money on repeating these highly crucial and necessary checks,” explains Stuart.
Last year, the UK saw significant AML fines with FCA actions resulting in financial organisations in the UK facing fines totalling over £500million relating to money laundering.
“UK authorities will continue to focus on this area, including AML systems and controls, and crypto assets.
He adds: “HM Treasury (HMT) published its review of the UK’s anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory and supervisory regime in June, which sets out the next steps and areas of focus for the government. Sitting alongside two post-implementation reviews – Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, and the Office for Professional Body Anti Money Laundering Supervision, the review follows two HMT consultations on MLRs and AMLs.
“Proposals are still to be developed, with the government yet to decide on timelines for these consultations. But it’s clear that AML is very much at the top of the anti-fraud agenda, and as unfortunately criminals often use property transactions to launder money, companies and professionals in the sector must embed sector-leading technology to ensure compliance.
“As the criteria for the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 in relation to the Safe Harbour standards, can often be complicated to understand, it’s essential to select property specialists that work with world-class organisations to provide conveyancers and property professionals with high-end service, technology and compliance.”
Index East Anglia’s technology portfolio helps clients reduce risk, maximise compliance, and increase the speed and efficiency of every process and transaction, to cover every step of the conveyancing journey:
Index East Anglia operates throughout Norfolk and Suffolk. The business is headed by managing director Stuart Whaley. For more information: Offices – East Anglia – Index Property Information (indexpi.co.uk)