Anti-Money Laundering Regulations: ID Requirements for Conveyancing Transactions
Questions to be answered in this article
Why do I need to produce ID documents?
Before any work can be carried out in relation to your conveyancing transaction, two types of ID documents must be produced to the solicitor/lawyer acting on your behalf.
This is because they need to prove that you are who you say you are…and not a criminal hoping to use the firm’s client account for criminal activity by laundering money through it.
It is believed that the amount of money laundered through the UK every year could be as much as £57 billion.
Law firms are an obvious target for those wishing to launder money. If even one percent of this amount were to go through law firms, it would still equate to hundreds of millions of pounds.
Purchasing property has long been a favourable method of money laundering by criminals. This is because high value transactions are not out of the ordinary in conveyancing and therefore the criminal activity may not be ‘flagged up’ as suspicious.
Fraudsters have become increasingly creative in their ways of committing fraud and money laundering offences. This is the reason why conveyancers have to be so rigorous with their identity checks.
The solicitor/lawyer acting on your behalf needs to satisfy the money laundering regulations to ensure they are not putting their Firm at risk.
What ID documents are acceptable?
Two forms of ID are required from each of the clients before we begin acting on our client’s behalf (i.e. if there are two sellers, ID will need to be produced by both clients before work can commence). One of these forms of ID must be a photographic ID document (e.g. passport or driving licence) and the other must be a proof of address.
The proof of address ID must be no older than 3 months and must be for where you are currently residing. The most common forms of accepted address ID are a recent Council Tax bill, bank account statement or utility bill. Certain types of address ID will not accepted, for example: a mobile phone bill or credit card statement.
The ID must then be certified by a solicitor. The photographic ID must be certified as a “true copy of the original and a true likeness of [the person]” The address ID must be certified as a “true copy of the original”. They must both be dated and have the firm’s stamp on it.
Can’t you just accept my photocopied ID that I sent back with my forms?
Unfortunately not! The solicitor/lawyer has to certify it to state that they saw and copied the original document.
You’ve acted for me before, why do I need to show you my ID again?
ID obtained for a previous transaction over 12 months ago must be updated to comply with the regulations.