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Resourceslibrarykyc newsAML fines for UK estate agents soar by 980%

AML fines for UK estate agents soar by 980%

The number of fines issued by HMRC overall actually dropped by nearly 9% last year (down from £3 million in 2020/21). However, despite this overall drop, two particular industries saw enormous increases in the number of fines issued: accountancy service providers and estate agency businesses.

October 25, 2022
KYC News
Analysis
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Although the overall number of anti-money laundering fines issued by HMRC has fallen by 19% in the past year, the sum of fines issued to estate agents has increased by an eye-watering 980%, according to the latest data. This means that, in 2021/22, estate agents in the UK were issued with AML fines totalling £772,618. 

The UK government has made it a legal obligation for any business defined by its anti-money laundering regulations (including estate agents, accountants, and financial service businesses) to register for anti-money laundering (AML) supervision from HMRC.

Now, if any business that is covered by these regulations fails to put adequate AML practices, policies, and precautions in place, they can be subjected to significant fines. 

The number of fines issued by HMRC overall actually dropped by nearly 9% last year (down from £3 million in 2020/21). However, despite this overall drop, two particular industries saw enormous increases in the number of fines issued: accountancy service providers and estate agency businesses.

Why is the number of fines rising? 

Although at face value these figures look bad for estate agents, it must be said that estate agencies currently lead the way when it comes to new AML registrations. Now, the sector accounts for a sizable proportion of all AML registered businesses. Due to the sector's greater acceptance of AML compliance, a higher level of fines is to be expected. 

On top of this, the total sum of fines issued to estate agency businesses since the start of the pandemic (2020 to 2022) is actually 41% lower than the total sum of fines issued in the two years prior (2018 to 2019). In the two years prior to the pandemic, the sector paid a total of £8.215 million, but in the last two years, this amount has fallen to just over £4 million.

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