Report Activity of Trust Accounts – Real Estate Board

Photo: JIS Photographer Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Board (REB), Sandra Watson Garrick (right), addresses the Annual Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference at the Spanish Court Hotel, recently. Listening keenly are Director of the Financial Institute Supervisory Division, Bank of Jamaica, Decoda Martin (left); and Chair of the function and trainer and consultant, Bazard and Company, Cheryl Bazard.

Story Highlights

  • Real estate dealers, developers and bankers, and others involved in financial transactions in the industry are being reminded to report activities on trust accounts to the Real Estate Board (REB).
  • The trust account is used to hold fees pertaining to a real estate transaction, including sales deposits.
  • Mrs. Watson Garrick, who spoke under the theme ‘Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas’, said ethical challenges may arise in the industry, by nature of the money involved and the number of intermediaries, including attorneys, financiers, developers/vendors and salesmen/dealers.

Real estate dealers, developers and bankers, and others involved in financial transactions in the industry are being reminded to report activities on trust accounts to the Real Estate Board (REB).

The trust account is used to hold fees pertaining to a real estate transaction, including sales deposits.

Chief Executive Officer of the REB, Sandra Watson Garrick, said that under the Real Estate (Dealers and Developers) Act, the Board must be notified immediately if funds are withdrawn from the trust account.

She was speaking at an Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference hosted by the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA), in collaboration with the Jamaica Institute of Financial Services (JIFS) at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston recently.

Mrs. Watson Garrick said that like the banking sector, the real estate industry is safeguarded from potential risks by various pieces of legislation that insist on strict reporting policies.

These include the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), Terrorism Prevention Act, and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) Act.

She noted that dealers are required to assign a nominated officer whose responsibility it is to file the required reports with the FID, which is the designated authority for the real estate sector under the POCA.

The nominated officer should be a qualifying director or a senior manager with the requisite experience and training to fulfil his or her duties.

Mrs. Watson Garrick, who spoke under the theme ‘Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas’, said ethical challenges may arise in the industry, by nature of the money involved and the number of intermediaries, including attorneys, financiers, developers/vendors and salesmen/dealers.

She said that professionals can prevent potential ethical issues by avoiding conflicts of interest, that is, representing separate purchasers in the same sale, providing complete and factual advertising, maintaining an office and displaying licences, and hiring other licensed practitioners.

Mrs. Watson Garrick noted that the REB has identified developers as one of the more ‘at-risk’ categories in the industry, as they are not subjected to anti-money laundering training and reporting requirements as are dealers and salesmen.

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