Anti-Money Laundering in Real Estate Sector

May 01, 2019

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Posted by
Matt Mayers

REALTORS® are committed to doing their part to ensure that money laundering has no role in the real estate sector.

(Photo: Province of British Columbia)

BCREA has worked with other real estate sector organizations to create a joint statement on money laundering, with shared recommendations to government. Recommendations included that government and regulatory agencies better utilize on-the-ground experience of real estate professionals to develop compliance resources and test policy ideas. The Attorney General and Ministry of Finance responded by applauding BCREA's anti-money laundering work, issuing a joint statement congratulating our "practical and valuable actions".

On May 9, the BC Government published two long-anticipated reports on anti-money laundering and real estate, one by Peter German, a former commissioner of the RCMP, and one by the Expert Panel on Money Laundering in BC Real Estate. The panel consisted of chair Maureen Maloney, Tsur Somerville and Brigitte Unger, who are all leading experts in their respective fields of policy, real estate economics and money laundering. BCREA actively participated in both reviews, providing recommendations and best practices for REALTORS®. The reviews reflected some of BCREA's recommendations, including bringing more transparency and accountability to all professionals involved in real estate transactions and improving regulatory structures.

Days after the reviews were published, the BC Government announced the initiation of a public inquiry, which will help to explain how we got to where we are today. BCREA is continuing to request that some recommendations be implemented before the public inquiry concludes. This includes a request that provincial and federal governments, along with relevant government agencies, coordinate their actions and share information to create a more effective enforcement regime. We are also asking for mandatory anti-money laundering education for REALTORS® to help improve their abilities to identify and report suspicious transactions.

We will continue to work in collaboration with government to help create an environment support regulators and law enforcement in decisive and immediate action to stop anyone abusing our economy.

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