Are interior designers intermediaries and do they need to register as Art Market Participants?

Are interior designers intermediaries and do they need to register as Art Market Participants?
Written by Rena Neville, Head of FCS Compliance – Art Division

Should interior designers register as Art Market Participants (AMPs)?
It’s a seemingly simple question but as is often the case with anti-money laundering legislation – it depends.

I have outlined three typical scenarios involving interior designers and the art market; some do not require registration, but one definitely does. Let’s take each in turn…

First, when an interior designer buys or sells a qualifying work of art as principal for their own account, then they are the customer and do not need to be registered as an art market participant (AMP).

Second, if the interior designer’s business model is only to introduce AMPs to their clients for whom they are designing a space, then they do not need to be registered as an AMP themselves. An introduction is merely connecting two parties who then negotiate any transactions directly with each other and not through or with the interior designer’s intermediation.

Third, if the interior designer acts as an intermediary, then the interior designer must register as an AMP from the date of their first qualifying transaction since 10 January 2020. The term “intermediary” means an active participant in the execution and negotiation of a transaction involving a qualifying work of art.

Sometimes the line between introducer and intermediary is blurred. Applying a risk-based approach and on a case by case basis, art market participants should be alert to whether or not an interior designer is acting as an intermediary and duly registered.

If the designer’s involvement rises to the level of an intermediary, the AMP should check to be sure the Interior Designer is registered as appropriate with HMRC as an AMP.

If the Interior Designer is acting as an intermediary and is not properly registered, as with other unregistered parties, HMRC’s advice is the AMP should not proceed with the transaction and should consider reporting the unregistered AMP to both the National Crime Agency and HMRC.

Article written January 2024.

Upcoming related webinars:

Art And Antiquities Webinar – AML In 2024 – Join Us On 18 January 2024

Webinar With BIID: Anti-Money Laundering Compliance For Interior Designers – Join Us On 1 February 2024


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