Schedule 1 to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) contains a list of Accountable Institutions. Item 3 of this list specifically relates to an estate agent as defined in the Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976. However, the Estate Agency Affairs Act was repealed and replaced by the Property Practitioners Act with effect from 1 February 2022. This resulted in the creation of the term “property practitioners” which replaced the term “estate agent”.
The Property Practitioners Act defines a property practitioner very widely, which includes the traditional “estate agents”. In addition, it includes other categories of persons including certain auctioneers, managing agents, business brokers, trustees, bond or mortgage originators and bond brokers, property developers, persons who market or sell properties, persons who market or sell timeshare or fractional ownership, and homeowners associations.
The FIC is of the view that the broader category of persons now known as property practitioners, does not automatically fall within the ambit of Item 3 of accountable institutions unless the person performs an activity which is equivalent to that of an “estate agent” as defined in the now repealed Estate Agency Affairs Act. In order for all property practitioners to be regarded as accountable institutions, Schedule 1 of FICA will have to be amended to include “property practitioners”. The FIC has noted that this amendment will be considered in consultation with the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and the industry.
In the interim, the FIC published draft PCC 117 which provides guidance to property practitioners on the continued applicability of FICA. In terms of the draft guidance, all property practitioners who perform “estate agent” activities fall within the ambit of Item 3 of Schedule 1 of FICA and must register as accountable institutions with the Centre.
Interested parties are invited to submit comments on draft PCC 117 using the online comments submission link on or before 19 August 2022.