Harcourts Team Group & AMLHUB
A case study in excellent AML
When AML/CFT was expanded in 2019 to include real estate, Wellington's Harcourts Team Group was faced with the challenge of adjusting its sales process to include compliance with AML obligations.
Selling hundreds of commercial and residential properties a year, and with a solid reputation in the real estate market, Harcourts Team Group would be a prime target for money launderers.
So putting strong AML/CFT processes in place that included staff training, record-keeping, and document management was vital in achieving AML compliance.
Jade Dolman, AML Compliance Officer
Harcourts Team Group's champion for AML
Jade Dolman, AML Compliance Officer, has been at the forefront of managing Harcourts Team Group’s AML compliance since late 2019.
Tasked with aligning three different sets of internal stakeholders with AML, Jade took a strategic approach to creating a culture of compliance through training, leaning on support of Harcourts Team Group’s Directors, and the latest technology.
Reasons for Harcourts Team Group AML success
|A dedicated AML Compliance Officer
|Regular AML staff training
|Support from Senior Management
|Latest AML technology
Tackling AML challenges
One of the first challenges she faced was optimising the day-to-day workflow of the business to better incorporate AML.
“Moving into the AML regime was easier right from the start with AMLHUB. The AMLHUB is so user-friendly, and because at the beginning we were learning how to make AML an everyday activity, with the AMLHUB we just put the two together and it worked.”
1. AML training for all staff
The successful incorporation of AML into Harcourts Team Group’s everyday workflow was supported by robust and ongoing training and education, to help the team understand the importance of AML policies, procedures, and controls.
“Every Real Estate salesperson gets one-to-one training with me on AML. We go over the basics and a few months later have a refresher catch up... doing so helps them understand what their AML responsibilities are, and that it’s not as difficult as they might think, especially with the resources I provide. It also enforces the rules around AML, because Harcourts is one of the most trusted brands, and so we need to be doing things right.”
2. Supportive Senior Management
Having the support of the company Directors was vital to Jade in creating a strong culture of AML compliance.
“As a Compliance Officer it’s great to have management take what I say very seriously, especially as sometimes you have to ask people for more information or deal with someone that is not happy with giving it to you.
“While I am supported by our Directors, I make sure that, in turn, I’m giving support to agents and staff. They can contact me at any time and know that I will always answer. And I always say to them that spending a bit more time with me to get the right answer is important – no one wants to take the wrong answer to their client. So, making sure the team feels supported and has the right tools is essential.”
3. Team enabled by AML technology
Dedicated AML technology helped Harcourts Team Group in smoothing the transition into an AML/CFT regime.
With the user-friendly design for quick uptake, flexibility to upload documents in the field, and the ability to log in from anywhere, AMLHUB helped enforce Harcourts Team Group’s new approach to managing AML within their deals.
“With the AMLHUB, agents can collect the documents by using their phones rather than having to bring it all back to the office to scan. It makes everyone’s life easier. And because it’s in the cloud, it also means I can do my job from anywhere, which was especially important during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“I also often use the other tools in the AMLHUB to stay on top of AML requirements. For example, monthly CDD Assurance helps me check a sample of deals and keep track of any auditing I’ve done. Or management reporting – I use this to create regular reports to give to my senior management. If you can imagine, pulling all that information together manually for 11 branches would be a major task, but I use the AMLHUB to pull a report off for any time frame I need, in minutes. Makes my life easier, especially around annual report time for the DIA.”
Results of Harcourts Team Group DIA audit
All this hard work by Jade and her team paid off when the business underwent an onsite inspection by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), and passed with flying colours.
“We had a random inspection by the DIA, who came in and looked through everything: our Compliance Programme, all of my training material, the suspicions register on the AMLHUB, and they randomly picked some salespeople and managers to interview… They came back to me after that, and they didn’t have any issues with anything.
“I’m thorough with our AML, and I use the AMLHUB, so I didn’t feel like there was anything more I could have done to prepare… That was a personal victory for me. I felt so proud that every person that they spoke to within our company, and everything that they’d looked at, had been satisfactory to them.”
Moving forward with confidence
Bringing a large company into alignment with the AML/CFT regime is no small feat.
Having conquered the challenges in building out a comprehensive AML programme and workflow for Harcourts Team Group using AMLHUB, Jade has the following advice for anyone else looking to do the same.
“Be there for the people who rely on you for information. It’s a big responsibility. Check and recheck everything you send out because it’s important to get it right. Build your support network around you, especially Senior Management, so you’re enabled to do your job. Be diligent about recording the reasoning behind the decisions you make. Be open to advice and guidance because we’re all here for the same reason.”
Enjoy a new AML experience with AMLHUB
AMLHUB is revolutionising how real estate manages its AML.
By combining the latest technology with New Zealand's most up-to-date knowledge of AML/CFT practice, AMLHUB enables your real estate agency to stay on top of all its AML obligations.
- Reduce AML admin
- Cut costs
- Manage the risk of non-compliance
See how it works for yourself.