The property sourcing sector in the UK is a high value industry that provides investors with lucrative opportunities. However, it also poses certain risks that must be addressed to uphold the law and promote ethical practices.
This is where the National Crime Agency (NCA) comes in. As the UK’s lead agency in tackling serious and organised crime, the NCA plays a crucial role in how the property sourcing sector should operate.
What is the NCA?
The NCA is a UK-based agency that works to prevent, investigate, and prosecute serious and organised crime. Its focus includes human trafficking, cybercrime, money laundering, drug trafficking, and economic crime.
One of the ways in which the NCA regulates the property sourcing sector is by enforcing the Proceeds Of Crime Act (POCA). This act aims to prevent criminals from using the proceeds of their illicit activities for financial gain.
Guidance from PSC, Our Training Partner
As part of Professional Sourcing Compliance’s ‘Terminology’ series, Tina Walsh provided this video guidance on the NCA and what property sourcers needed to know.
Background Checks on Property Investors
Sourcing agents are expected to carry out thorough background checks on property investors to ensure that they are not a risk of criminal involvement or money laundering activity.
This is necessary to maintain the integrity of the property sourcing industry and to prevent any illegal activities that can harm innocent individuals and businesses. Investors must be careful to comply with a sourcing agents requests for relevant information to avoid being flagged as suspicious and risk a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) being submitted to the NCA for review and investigation.
What Powers Do They Have?
The NCA has the power to freeze assets and seize properties that are suspected to be acquired through criminal activities. This is a critical measure that helps deter criminals from using the property sourcing sector to launder their money. By utilising these powers, the NCA can ensure that the property sales sector remains a legitimate and safe industry for investors and agents to operate in.
In addition to enforcement powers, the NCA also provide in depth reports annually which would provide a useful and informative training tool to property sourcing agents and property investors alike. These reports provide facts and figures of the previous 12 months, with specific sections focused on the Anti Money Laundering sector and property sales, affecting estate agents, sourcing agents and on occasions lettings agents as well.
By understanding what the NCA do and what is expected of agents they can strengthen their knowledge of the legal requirements and best practices, and promote transparency and ethical conduct in the industry.
In a Nutshell
The NCA is an essential component of the UK’s property sales sector. Its functions, including enforcing POCA (Proceeds Of Crime Act) and investigating SAR’s submissions helping to reduce any criminal activity and corruption.
Understanding what is expected of sourcing agents and investors enable us to comply with regulations and maintain the sector’s integrity and reputation. By doing so, we can protect ourselves and others, and maximise the professionalism of the sourcing sector.
Suspicious of illegal activity?
If you are suspicious of illegal activity, whether it’s an investor, seller or another sourcer – these are the guidelines to follow:
Suspected Money Laundering or Terrorist Financing – Contact the National Crime Agency
Non-emergency Crime – Ring 101 to report