In terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (‘FICA’), estate agents as they were defined in the (now repealed) Estate Agency Affairs Act, were designated as ‘accountable institutions’ and accordingly became obliged to comply with the FICA.
With the coming into operation of the Property Practitioners Act in February this year and the introduction of the term ‘property practitioner’, which represents many additional role players in the real estate industry other than estate agents, concerns arose whether these property practitioners must now also become compliant with the FICA.
On 14 November 2022, the Financial Intelligence Centre issued Public Compliance Communication 56 and a Consultation Feedback Note in respect thereof. The Centre clarifies that the position essentially remains as it was before and that only those who perform estate agent tasks, are required to comply with the FICA. They will in due course ensure that the FICA reflect the position more clearly.
Remember importantly, whether or not your business formally falls under the FICA, all businesses must report suspicious transactions to the FIC.