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FICA compliance for Property Practitioners (Estate Agents)

The real estate sector is particularly vulnerable to money laundering activities and potential financing of terrorist activities. Estate agents have therefore been identified as accountable institutions. As such, they have regulatory obligations to help combat this crime.

Criminals who seek to launder money may channel illicit funds by buying and selling property. They can ‘clean’ or hide large amounts of money in a single transaction by purchasing a home, plot or building for a large sum of money. The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) aims to prevent this from happening.

As an estate agent, FICA requires you to fulfil several obligations. Among others, your estate agency needs to be registered with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Your agency needs to follow a risk-based approach and establish the identity of all clients. Your staff need to know your policies relating to FICA. In addition, your agency needs to submit reports to the FIC.

Why use Masthead’s compliance services? 

One of our core services is compliance and we have offered this service with exceptional results for almost two decades. We have also assisted hundreds of accountable institutions to comply with FICA.  

With our national presence, we have the capacity and resources to successfully service estate agencies across South Africa. Our consultants are skilled specialists in the field of compliance will be happy to assist you.

Want to experience our compliance service? Please contact us.

Ensuring FICA compliance for your agency

Meeting all these obligations can be challenging, especially when your primary focus is not compliance. Masthead can help you and your agency with all aspects of FICA. Our objective is to enable your agency to comply with current FICA regulation and future amendments to the Act.

From checking that your agency is registered with the FIC, to helping you understand risk, we make compliance easy. We will guide you through the processes to enable your agency to adopt the relevant risk-based approach. Documenting these processes forms the basis of your mandatory risk management and compliance programme (RMCP).

Webinars to guide you through your FICA requirements

We host webinars to help guide you through all the elements that need to be included in your FICA RMCP and get a good understanding or the requirements.

Preparation for FIC inspections 

The Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA) conducts inspections of Estate Agents as accountable institutions in terms of the FIC Act. We can assist you to be prepared for such an inspection through our FIC Inspection webinar. This gives you an idea of what to expect, as well as the types of questions you could be asked before, during and after an inspection. If required, our compliance consultants can provide you with onsite support during an inspection.

Item 3 of Schedule 1 to the FIC Act includes an estate agent as an accountable institution as defined in the Estate Agency Affairs Act, 1976 (EAA Act). With effect from 1 February 2022, the EAA Act was repealed by the Property Practitioners Act, 2019 (PP Act). This resulted in replacing the term ‘estate agent’ with the term ‘property practitioners’, however, ‘property practitioners’ also includes additional categories of persons which do not automatically fall within the ambit of the FIC Act.

The FIC has provided clarity in its Public Compliance Communication (PCC) 56 that any person registered as an estate agent prior to February 2022 will remain an accountable institution in terms of the FIC Act. After February 2022, any person performing the activities of an estate agent, although they may be referred to as a property practitioner will too be considered as an accountable institution in terms of Item 3 of Schedule 1 to the FIC Act.

Any questions?

Masthead has successfully offered compliance services to the financial advice industry for almost two decades. We have since extended our services to other industry sectors that are required to comply with FICA.

With our national footprint, experience and resources, we can easily provide our services to motor vehicle dealerships across South Africa. Our consultants have an in-depth knowledge of FICA and how to implement Masthead’s solutions. Furthermore, we are well placed to keep you informed about FICA updates and assist you to comply with new obligations.

If you have any FICA-related questions for your agency, please feel free to ask us. We will gladly assist you. Contact us here.

MASTHEAD IS

A national supplier of risk management services to independent financial advisors and other licensed financial service providers (FSPs). Established in 2004, we help our clients overcome their risk management challenges so they can grow and thrive in an increasingly regulated industry. Providing professional guidance and practical support, our team of specialists is passionately committed to delivering tangible solutions.

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