Regulatory scrutiny in the property sector is greater than ever. Estate and lettings agents are under increasing pressure to implement risk mitigation strategies to ensure they are compliant with a number of regulations relevant to their sectors. Issues such as Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti Money Laundering (AML) and fraud detection are changing the face of businesses across the UK property market. For example, changes to Immigration laws in 2016 focused on the question of Right to Rent, while the 4th Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) brought in the requirement for money laundering checks to apply to both buyers and sellers.
In this highly competitive sector, firms are facing increasing levels of risk. Likewise, fraud and money laundering worries abound as overseas buyers (individuals, companies, trusts) seek to invest in the UK property market, particularly in London. Thorough AML checks demand verifying all individuals and entities, and understanding ownership structures of the businesses making high value transactions. These market conditions are forcing UK property firms and proptechs to re-assess their due diligence practices. They are acutely aware of the need to demonstrate best practice when onboarding clients and to avoid the hefty fines (not to mention the damage to reputation) associated with non-compliance. Hence, they need to consider how they will put in place the processes and systems that comprehensively address current regulatory demands, while offering the flexibility to meet new or future requirements.
How did NorthRow help?
One leading UK property business is ahead of the curve, having already implemented a NorthRow solution to expedite their compliance processes nationwide. Aware of the growing need for compliance, they reviewed their processes and chose NorthRow as the partner to implement a flexible and configurable system across a large network of office branches. Today, the business is running a fully-customised solution that works across both the sales and lettings side of their business to manage AML and Right to Rent checks; helping to reduce risk, and to improve identity verification and fraud detection. Previous manually intensive processes have been automated. The solution is built to specific requirements including amended data sets and risk score cards based on different use cases and a mix of individual and ID document checks. As part of the process, NorthRow stores details of the checks within the NorthRow console, time and date stamped, fully secure and encrypted, offering a full transparent audit trail.
NorthRow offers estate agents the ability to leverage leading edge technology and best practices to ensure regulatory compliance and the ability to expand existing practices to address new and emerging regulatory obligations. The due diligence practices within the property sector have traditionally been manual and slow. With NorthRow, estate agents can perform real-time automated checks, for a much smoother customer onboarding process. As well as doing everything in real-time to drive operational efficiency, it automatically stores all of the data, creating an audit trail with documents appended in a fully secure and encrypted manner. The NorthRow solution adds rigour to existing regulatory background checks. It also gives savvy firms the scope to use a leading multisource platform capable of carrying out complex checks on individual buyers as well as vendors, tenants and companies to establish ownership structure and identify any beneficial owners; it brings operational efficiency, cost savings and increased bandwidth to process more sales and improve customer experience, all in a single-point solution.
NorthRow provides an automated compliance solution across a wide range of industries helping organisations deliver a complete picture of their clients, customers and employees, to enable them to adhere to increasing regulation and to improve onboarding processes.