This time we are sitting down with Rhys David, the CEO of identify verification company, Credas to discuss why anti-money laundering checks are so important for the industry.
Q1: Many estate agents are still confused about their anti-money laundering (AML) obligations. Can you shed light on what actually changed during 2018?
The core of the 2018 AML changes
The legislation stipulated the need to have a comprehensive and robust framework in place to carry out the appropriate level of due diligence and for many Estate Agents this will have been a step change for their business.
Q2: And what about 2019? Are there any more changes on the horizon?
Hopefully 2019 will be a smoother ride but we can’t ignore that MLD5 (Anti Money Laundering 5th Directive) is on the horizon in Jan 2020. This will again put Estate Agents under significant pressures to have the right compliance processes in place.
These changes to legislation place greater significance on identifying Ultimate Beneficial Owners and this is one Estate Agents should be ready for when the time comes.
Q3: Is there any clarity on what will happen to existing GDPR and AML regulations in the event of a no deal Brexit?
Clarity and Brexit don’t belong in the same sentence!
Q4: Your own research showed that 22% of property firms would struggle to pass AML spot-checks, why do you think so many have struggled to get compliant?
Any business is fundamentally shaped by its founders and Estate Agents are experts in understanding the property market, at identifying opportunities and being commercially astute.
Very few Estate Agent founders are compliance experts, and with the ever changing legislation and more stringent demands for robust due diligence it increases the need for this skillset.
Q5: What’s the biggest challenge we face as a society in combating money laundering?
The legislation is attempting to encourage us to think differently, to place due-diligence and the management of risk at the core of business process.
Its human nature to trust and we often take people on face value, but we also need to ensure that we are ensuring that the regulators are kept
Q6: Tell us a little about how your software can help estate agents?
Credas have invested significant resource by combining cutting edge technologies that automate much of the due diligence aspects of the legislation. In doing so we also enable our clients to provide a first-class customer experience whilst eliminating risk.
Based on our research we found that each property transaction included up to 2.4hrs spent on verifying the individuals, this was often a manual and non-compliant solution which attracted regulators attentions.
At Credas we can demonstrate how our EA clients have saved significant amounts of time and resource that they can then allocate to other more commercially beneficial activities.
Q7: What were the biggest challenges you faced in developing the Credas software?
We’re incredibly proud of the technology, it includes a number of state-of-the-art components and we were the first to combine the elements in this way. In the early days, we assumed the product would sell itself, but it took us longer to gain traction than we hoped.
In lots of ways, we were a little too cutting edge or futuristic even, the facial recognition aspect especially was so new.
We took a step back and focused more on the solution, the messaging and how the technology truly helped the Estate Agency market.
Q8: Why should someone use Credas over other AML methods that are available?
Back in March 2018 the government issued a guidance note on Identity Verification Technology outlining how technologies like Credas can quickly and easily assist Estate Agents to establish the authenticity of documents presented for identity verification purposes (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/identity-document-validation-technology/identification-document-validation-technology).
Our technology not only confirms that the person is who they say they are, it authenticates the document and also provides checks against mortality, address validity, international peps and sanctions too. Providing almost a one stop shop for AML checks.
This saves agents time, and money. Providing a safe, trustworthy and secure way to comply with the legislation. For us, its about speed, accuracy and a superior customer experience.
Q9: What’s coming next? Are there any exciting developments coming for Credas users?
There are plenty of exciting things on our product roadmap, the challenge for us always is balancing what the clients need as opposed simply coming up with shiny new toys.
It’s important to us that we provide useful and business
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