RICS Urges Firms to Adopt ‘Extremely Careful’ Due Diligence Measures
The RICS has issued a statement for its members urging them to adopt ‘extremely careful’ measures for due diligence before providing services to high-risk individuals.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned firms against money laundering and other financial crimes. Following the widespread sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals, the authority has urged firms to review their anti-money laundering policies.
The statement particularly mentioned that firms must be ‘extremely careful’ about providing services or undertaking transactions with businesses and individuals that are present in the UK government’s sanction lists.
The reminder from RICS is to encourage the implementation of proper due diligence measures and monitoring of sanctions lists before undertaking business.
It said: “Given the developing crisis, firms should review their anti-money laundering policies in light of the increased risks. In particular, we would strongly suggest that firms and members adopt an extremely careful approach to due diligence checks.
“Members and firms must check the sanctions list for their jurisdiction before offering services or undertaking transactions for clients. Where concerns arise firms should follow any requirements in their jurisdiction for reporting suspicious activity.”
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government along with the US and the European Union has initiated the biggest ever package of sanctions. Over 100 firms and oligarchs have been affected by sanctions worth hundreds of billions of pounds, including travel bans and freezing of assets. As of now, UK citizens are not allowed to undertake financial transactions involving the central bank of the Russian Federation, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Russian Ministry of Finance.
“Complying with sanctions is both a legal and ethical obligation, and there can be serious consequences for failures to do so”, said the RICS statement.