New research from Iamproperty, has found that six in 10 estate agents thought that money laundering wasn’t a problem in their area, with 90% of agents believing their “instincts alone” were reliable in detecting money laundering.
The research forms part of a campaign launched to raise awareness of the need to reduce the reliance on “purely human instinct” when it comes to identifying risks of money laundering in the house selling and buying process.
The research also found that 42% of respondents wouldn’t continue with a full AML check if speed was essential to the sale, if they didn’t think it was necessary or if they knew the buyer.
The four most common red flags estate agents identified were:
- A vendor reluctant to provide their documents to prove their identity and that they are the owners of the property
- The funds from the sale coming from an unknown and unidentified source
- Buyers paying in cash
- A client who bought a property 6 months ago and is looking to sell it already, at a reduced price
Ben Ridgway, group managing director at Iamproperty, said: “An industry that once relied solely on relationship building, a friendly approach and a good handshake now has to take a step back and add a layer of technology.
“It is no longer OK to trust that relationship or just a gut feeling, and Estate Agents that do are putting themselves at risk.”
He added: “Money laundering has become ever-more complex in the last few years with more faceless transactions and anonymous bank transfers. Nowadays it’s not often a case of a house-buyer turning up with a bag of cash.
“Our people-focused industry needs to rely on a more robust technological approach to sussing out issues with money laundering.”