Anti-money laundering (AML) firm SmartSearch has reported that its estate agency client numbers have doubled in the past two years.
The firm, which increased overall client numbers by 45% in the first five months of 2019, has just enjoyed its best month ever. In June, the firm did £1.1 million of business and signed up 93 new clients.
Martin Cheek (pictured), managing director of SmartSearch, said: “Recent fines – most significantly the £215,000 fine handed to Countrywide – and the fact that HMRC made surprise visits earlier this year to 50 other estate agents suspected of failing to comply with AML regulations – showed the estate agency sector that there would be serious consequences for anyone found not to be taking their money laundering obligations seriously enough.
“And I think a large proportion of the estate agents that have come to us in the past two years is as a result of this increased pressure on estate agents to comply or face the consequences.”
SmartSearch provides the ability to verify individuals and companies in the UK and internationally all in a single platform with full Sanction, PEP and adverse media screening and then ongoing monitoring.
Cheek added: “Whether estate agents are unsure of their obligations, don’t have the resources to meet them or simply don’t think AML matters, the end result is the same; they are not compliant, and that leaves them vulnerable and liable.
“Our platform offers a full-service solution that ensures estate agents are fully compliant with the latest Money Laundering Regulations and remain compliant with any future changes in the legislation.”