The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to promote policies related to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), released a new report on the United States, which is one of 32 member countries pledging to implement FATF recommendations. Last updated in 2006, the FATF report revealed improved and well developed AML/CFT measures by the U.S., especially by financial institutions subject to Bank Secrecy Act obligations. However, similar to previous reports, FATF recommended AML/CFT obligations apply to non-financial businesses and professions, including real estate agents (especially those in high-end markets), based on their involvement in negotiating transactions and due diligence investigations on prospective buyers to assess capacity to pay. The report also indicated a fundamental gap in the lack of access to beneficial ownership information and recommended as a top priority that the U.S. implement measures to improve transparency and prevent the misuse of legal persons for masking the source and control of illegal proceeds. NAR continues to monitor this issue closely and work with the Department of Treasury to ensure any risk-based analysis or proposed regulations duly consider the impact on real estate professionals.
For background on real estate professionals’ responsibilities under the law, check out NAR’s voluntary guidelines developed in collaboration with the Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network FinCEN).
For help recognizing suspicious money laundering activities, see this video created by NAR in partnership with Department of Treasury.
To learn more about anti-money laundering and FinCEN’s efforts, see NAR’s Window to the Law: New Effort to Combat Money Laundering.