The guidance highlights a number of red flags that property professionals need to be aware of which have been be classed in five main categories: the client, the parties, the source of funds, the transaction, the instructions.
The requirements will be mandatory for RICS members and RICS-regulated firms in relation to bribery, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing from 1 September 2019.
The regulator noted that the obligations will minimise firms’ exposure to anti-money laundering, bribery and corruption risks, including how to guard against these financial crimes in day-to-day business operations.
“It is important that professionals understand the factors that may indicate suspicious activity in each of these areas,” RICS said.
“When you have assessed the money laundering risks to your business, we recommend that you consider three lines of defence, which are: your front line staff; your policies, systems and controls; and senior management and internal specialists and audit functions.”
Property sector vulnerable
RICS associate director global property standards Nigel Sellars said: “While principles in this area were covered by RICS conduct and ethics, this professional statement and its regulation will be specific on certain points.
“The property sector is vulnerable to this sort of activity, and the statement will manage the risk, increasing market confidence in the profession.”
Minister for national security and economic crime Ben Wallace added: “Property professionals are a crucial line of defence against criminals who seek to launder their dirty cash in the UK before reinvesting it in serious and organised crime.
“Their crimes have no boundaries and can range from drug importation to human trafficking and terrorism.
“That’s why those in the industry are under a legal – and moral – obligation to flag it up when they spot something suspicious.”