RICS noticed that property managers and letting agents, who provide accounts information to clients but don’t necessarily ever handle any of the client’s money, looked set to be caught as part of the Regulated Sector under the 2007 Money Laundering Regulations. As is often the case, this was an unintended consequence of EU legislation.
RICS analysis of the new UK anti-money laundering regime suggested that, along with a whole host of other professions, property managers and letting agents who provide financial information to clients would be subject to the full panoply of money laundering rules designed for the financial and legal sectors: ID checks, training and record keeping. Most significantly they would need to register and pay for government supervision.
Drawing on its expertise and commitment to "better regulation", RICS has been involved in lengthy discussions with HM Treasury and has been able negotiate a reprise for property managers and letting agents, who would otherwise had to have paid for this unnecessary level of regulation. All businesses should be vigilant, of course, and RICS does recommend property firms to adopt voluntary procedures to identify and prevent money laundering.
RICS Director of Regulation Steven Gould said: "RICS is keen to see the residential market regulated properly, but it is also vigilant against over-regulation. Thankfully on this occasion the Government has been clear sighted and recognises that, applied in the way proposed, the 2007 Money Laundering Regulations would have seen many professionals having to unnecessarily register, and pay for a system that has very little relevance to their day-to-day work."
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