Comment: HMRC guidance step in the right direction for property AML

Commenting on HMRC guidance to estate and lettings agencies on their obligations regarding money laundering issues, Martin Cheek managing director at AML experts SmartSearch said: “In their new guidance HMRC specifically references the higher risks of virtual property transactions. However, this needn’t be the case.

“The pandemic forced most transactions to be conducted digitally and for those without a robust anti-money laundering policy in place, that heightens the risk of being exposed to the threat of financial fraud.

“In this new normal we find ourselves in, face-to-face identification processes are no longer viable, and nor are they necessarily reliable. But that shouldn’t mean doing deals entirely online should run a greater risk. In fact digital ID verification is more secure and accurate than expecting a customer to turn up in person with a piece of paper in hand to prove who they are.

“The new guidance from HMRC is a positive step in the right direction in the battle to stop money laundering through property. And by using a system such as SmartSearch TripleCheck, estate and lettings agencies can negate the risk of an online transaction and vet a prospective client in seconds.”