Duty to maintain a separate Client Account(s)
All safeagent firms who receive clients’ money must only hold client monies in a UK bank or building society authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority into which they must pay without delay any money which is held on behalf of client landlords or tenants.
Clients’ money must be held by a firm in such a way that it is not available for the ordinary trading purposes of the business nor used as security for any loan or for meeting any personal or business liabilities.
The Standards which follow deal with approved forms of withdrawal from the Client Account(s) and are designed to enforce this main purpose of separate accounts.
When operating any form of Clients’ Account the bank or other institution should be advised that the money is to be held in a separate account from the firm’s own money and should be instructed to handle the account(s) in accordance with these standards.
Bank charges for operating all forms of Clients’ Account(s) must be paid out of other resources and not charged against any client account(s).
Withdrawals from a Client Account
Money may be drawn from Client Account(s) only under the following circumstances:
(a) For payment properly authorised to the person entitled to receive it
(b) In discharge of a sum owed to the firm by the person otherwise entitled to receive it
(c) For payment into another client account kept by the firm
(d) To correct an inadvertent overpayment into the account
(e) To withdraw interest which has accrued on the account
(f) For payment of the firm’s fees and/or disbursements provided that the client has a copy of the firm’s account and the client has authorised payment in writing or payment is permitted by the firm’s Terms of Engagement
(g) If there are sufficient funds available to the credit of the client to fully cover the payments
All safeagent firm must maintain proper internal accounts showing the up-to-date position in relation to circumstances outlined in Standards 1 and 2 above. At all times balances on the client account(s) must satisfy the indebtedness shown in internal accounts.
Firms trading for less than 12 months at date of application to safeagent
Firms applying for safeagent accreditation who have been trading for less than 12 months must provide a Declaration by an Accountant in the format provided by safeagent confirming that the firm has bookkeeping procedures in place for handing clients’ money.
After the first six months safeagent accreditation, the firm must provide an Interim Accountant’s Report confirming compliance with safeagent Accounting Standards.
Thereafter the Report must be provided annually within 6 months of the end of the firm’s accounting year.
Failure to provide a Report within the given time will lead to the withdrawal of safeagent accreditation.