OFT Warns Estate Agents Of Strict New Policies And Fines

October 6, 2010

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published its interim policy on imposing financial penalties on estate agents and certain credit lenders who have failed to register under its money laundering registration scheme but continue to carry on a supervised activity.

The Anti-Money Laundering Interim Penalties Policy makes clear that if such estate agents and certain credit lenders fail to register with the OFT, they will be subject to fines that start at £2,000 and increase by £1,000 for each additional unregistered premise.

Where the OFT believes estate agents and certain credit lenders are not registered but are carrying on a supervised activity, it will give them 21 days to apply for registration or to explain why they are exempt from registration, before notifying them of the intention to apply a financial penalty.

Mario Tsavellas, OFT Director of Anti-Money Laundering, said: "Estate agents and certain credit lenders have an obligation to comply with statutory obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, which includes registration with the OFT.

Where businesses choose to ignore OFT warnings and do not register, we will impose civil financial penalties. It is vital that the OFT continues to identify those who should register, so that the OFT can supervise them effectively and reduce the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in these sectors."