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Ince reveals new KYC solution for the real estate sector

International legal and professional services firm, Ince, has unveiled the launch of the first integrated software solution combining know-your-customer (KYC) technology with legal advice and escalation in a single platform.

This platform hopes to provide “seamless” client onboarding to meet anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Developed to help companies in the real estate sector demonstrate AML compliance, the solution is delivered in collaboration with industry-leading technology providers including eLegal (part of The Ince Group), Yoti, Arachnys.

The solution will be initially rolled out to the real estate sector before launching in other markets where money laundering challenges are prevalent.

The launch of the new digital KYC solution comes at a time when the real estate sector is facing significant regulatory pressure to strengthen its approach to money laundering. With over £4bn of property in London estimated to be owned by individuals or companies with a high money laundering risk, the UK Money Laundering Regulations have tightened to include estate agents involved in the purchase or sale of real estate properties as well as high-value lettings.

This is part of a wider clampdown as in the first six months of 2020, fines for money-laundering breaches in the UK totalled £36.6m.

Flaws in the onboarding process were recently highlighted by an Arachnys study which revealed that 85% of AML and KYC analysts rely on Google to perform due diligence checks. With increasingly stringent checks to perform, taking such a piecemeal approach is no longer fit for purpose according to the firm.

The new Ince proposition comprises of features such as company and individual checks against sanction lists and adverse media reports for initial screening and biometrically-linked electronic identity verification for all associated individuals to prove their identity and that they are real individuals.

Mark Tantam, Managing Partner, UK and Global Head of Consulting at Ince, said: “As regulators clamp down on AML compliance in the real estate sector incomplete or insufficient client onboarding can leave these companies vulnerable to HMRC scrutiny and potentially costly penalties.

“Our collaboration with eLegal, Yoti and Arachnys addresses the existing need in the market for a fully integrated solution that involves both advisory and action-based services.

“This prevents critical gaps in the digital KYC process, saving time and money whilst protecting reputations. Combining specialist software with Ince’s trusted legal advisory expertise on anti-money laundering regulation will provide the real estate sector with confidence that they are compliant.

“This presents the opportunity to use the client onboarding process as a strategic tool for proactively building anti-money laundering resilience when incorporated as part of a broader, comprehensive AML framework that includes a commitment to ongoing employee training and risk assessments.”

David Buxton, chief executive and founder at Arachnys, added: “We’re really excited by this joint offering with Ince, eLegal and Yoti which is powered by Arachnys’ intelligent, enriched global KYC and AML data. We’re now able to offer significant time and resource savings to any regulated industry such as real estate where it’s long been a struggle to onboard new customers whilst also achieving regulatory compliance”.

Robin Tombs, chief executive and founder at Yoti said: “I am delighted that Ince has chosen Yoti to be part of its digital KYC platform.

“Together we’ll deliver robust identity verification for company directors, Ultimate Beneficial Owners and persons of significant control to the real estate sector; with strong potential for other regulated markets. This will allow clients of the platform to feel assured that they are deploying best-in-class RegTech from four leading specialist firms, to combat fraud and financial crime.”