Robert Green, Contracts & Compliance Manager, Ray White
ATTIC magazine recently caught up with Robert Green, Contracts & Compliance Manager Ray White Ponsonby in order to get an idea of what impact AML/ CFT has had on the Ray White team and their clients. Here, Robert shares their journey through the changes and a few challenges the real estate agency has faced along the way.
What have you seen as the biggest challenges in Real Estate with AML?
Public perception of the requirements and understanding why, as real estate agents, we are asking for sometimes personal details of their lives. Kiwis love Trusts, and sometimes these are hard to unravel.
What have you found to be the most frustrating/irritating about the rules/processes, i.e. what could be done better in your view?
Most new laws and requirements that are Government-led have difficulties. A lot of the framework that was implemented, I believe, was based on an overseas structure or belief. The framework has to be evolved to find the best implementation for New Zealand. In the early days the amount of required information and paperwork was astronomical, especially if you tried to effectively meet the new requirements.
How did Damerell Group approach those?
From day one we realised that this would require specialist and ongoing organic support to meet the requirements of the new Act. We wanted to set up our own policies correctly, not only from a risk perspective but to manage our procedures and internal check systems. This would take the pressure off personnel as well as agents, allowing the latter to focus on what they do best – sell real estate.
What has been the biggest impact on the business for a. Real Estate Agents, b. the team?
Learning how to have those conversations at the start of our working relationship with clients. Being clear on what is required from clients before we start any form of real estate work is really important.
In your opinion what risks are there with AML and real estate?
As AML is a risk-based assessment it is how you determine whether to go forward with your real estate relationship or not. Non-disclosure by clients and/or failing to complete due diligence can be a risk. This is why Damerell Group mitigate those risks by getting an outside third party to not only carry out our AML requirements, but constantly update our needs and review our polices and internal procedures.
No doubt Damerell Group have had long-established clients, what impact if any has AML had on them?
Our many long-time well-established clients understand what we are asking of them – we are proud of the core level of trust and understanding our sales team have with these clients and this certainly helps.
Do you see compliance as a cost of doing business, or has become one? How have those been monitored?
There is always a cost associated with any new requirements, and this is significant in this case. TIC Co constantly reviews our cost level and reports back to see how we are tracking. In the end, it is a user-pays system and the cost has to be reluctantly passed onto the client.
When taking steps to implement AML, what resources have you found helpful?
As mentioned, right from day one we asked TIC Co to be our provider in all respects of our AML requirements, from customer due diligence, training, reporting, policy updates and notification of any legal change requirements from the DIA.
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