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Agents must keep Anti-Money Laundering practices in line as Britain leaves the EU


Adapted from, Edited by Elizabeth Hearst

British Anti-Money Laundering laws (AML) are still in limbo, with the future of its enforcement yet to be decided in the UK-EU post-Brexit talks. 

As such, Arla – the UK’s largest body for letting and real estate agents has warned that agents should ensure their current processes are up to date in order for them to be prepared for any changes to AML laws as a result of Brexit. 

Arla has also reported that agents need to understand and be compliant with current laws, as they will apply in full until at least the end of the Brexit transition period. 

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is responsible for setting international standards against money laundering. The EU have subsequently produced a series of directives to implement these standards and tackle financial crime. The latest EU directive – the Fifth Money Laundering Directive came into effect in January 2020 and includes the following directives for UK real estate agents: 

Agents must register with HMRC for AML supervision and have a comprehensive written policy and procedures to deal with money laundering. They must have a nominated person within the business to act as a Money Laundering Reporting Officer and a deputy and must undertake an AML risk assessment covering clients, the agency and how it operates. 

Although these directives only apply to sales and letting agents who rent property valued at 10,000 euros or more for  the minimum of one calendar month, including commercial and residential property, which was brought under the scope of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive in January. 

Although many details of the UK’s departure from the EU remain up in the air, AML law is mentioned in the Political Declaration. This declaration is part of the formal documentation of the UK’s legal intentions during Brexit. Similarly, the EU has included AML in its draft legal text for a New Partnership with the UK, which would commit both the UK and the EU to abide by internationally agreed financial service standards. 

The UK has committed to implementing the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, and agents are bound by all existing laws until at least the end of the transition period which is 1st January 2021.

Original article published here:

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