Comment: Time for the sector to “embrace the technology available” to prevent money laundering

Commenting on the change to AML guidance for the conveyancing sector, John Dobson, CEO at AML specialists SmartSearch said: “The conveyancing sector plays such a vital role in protecting against the threat of money-laundering in the property market, which is a prime target for criminal exploitation.

“The changes announced by the Law Society president are a positive step and of course we welcome the focus on how to effectively use AML-related technology to mitigate risk.

“The legal profession and conveyancing sector in particular must take this opportunity to move to electronic verification when onboarding new customers and clients. By implementing robust anti-money laundering systems they will have the security of ongoing protection against the threat and it ensures compliance with the latest legislation for regulated businesses.

“As the Law Society has seen, the Government has made it clear in the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation governing our EU exit, that identity can be verified electronically, which is now UK law.

“HM Treasury has yet to sign off on these changes but we would expect them to do so and enable the conveyancing sector to embrace the technology now available, which can verify an individual’s ID within a few seconds, securely and digitally.“