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Speeding up the FINTRAC grind: How Fintracker’s technology is setting out to support, not replace, realtors

Simon Fiore wasn’t trying to disrupt the real estate industry when he was sitting in his office at Re/Max Associates in Winnipeg back in 2017. He was simply another realtor struggling with the task all realtors dread doing the most: filling out FINTRAC paperwork.


A consistent lag


If you’ve closed real estate deals recently, you’ve likely dealt with FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) forms. They are a specific set of paperwork required to be completed to help combat money laundering and terrorist activity financing in Canada.

Susan Scott, who managed sales, compliance and conveyancing at Fiore’s brokerage during this time, would often ask Fiore and the other realtors for their FINTRAC paperwork, as it lagged behind well after transaction papers were submitted.

“I was like many agents struggling with these forms and not handing them in in a timely fashion,” says Fiore.

One day Fiore said to Scott, “One of these days, Sue, I’m going to create a FINTRAC app.”

She simply responded with, “Go for it.”

The rest is digital history.


There’s an app for that


Fintracker is an online tool designed to assist real estate agents by automating the process of completing FINTRAC forms.

“I decided that I wanted to streamline this process and automate it all. So, we started off simply trying to solve this for my little brokerage here in Winnipeg, which then led us to listening to compliance officers, agents and other experts across the country, evolving the app to what it is. Today, it’s a one-stop-shop solution,” explains Fiore.

Fiore took a leap of faith when deciding to leave his successful career as a realtor in order to pursue developing Fintracker, in the hopes of solving this problem for the industry. But, trying to convince real estate agents used to the same industry practices for years to try and use a new technology wasn’t easy at first.

“The first three years were very discouraging, as nobody wanted to pay attention. Then, we signed the Barrie Board (BDAR) and they were the catalyst for board-level clients. During the pandemic, Fintracker became in high demand for its ability to identify non-physically present clients with a remote ID process.”

Eventually, other realtors started coming around to Fiore’s vision.


Getting buy-in


Leonard Howell, broker of record at Sam McDadi Real Estate in Mississauga, was an early adopter of the technology.

“When I saw the product, I thought, ‘this can make life a lot easier for our agents’,” states Howell. “Having a tool that makes things easier, I was all-in, it was a no-brainer. Now, I can tell which agents are using the Fintracker app and which ones aren’t based on the paperwork that’s coming in.”

Karen Yolevski, chief operating officer of Royal LePage Real Estate Services agrees.

“FINTRAC is one of those areas that is inherently complicated. There are a number of forms, a number of questions. Sometimes the information requested can be quite onerous, to both the realtor and the consumer,” explains Yolevski.

“Fintracker took the issue of FINTRAC forms and information gathering and created a process flow that’s easier to follow and harder to make a mistake in; much less onerous to deal with than paper forms.”


What’s next


So, what does the future hold for the relationship between real estate and technology?

“When I first started with Fintracker, I was the least tech-savvy agent in the country,” says Fiore. “That’s why I wanted to create a tool that was not only easy to use but made sense to the average realtor. But, what I’ve been seeing and what I’ve learned in the last six years of working with the tech space is that AI and technology are going to eventually have a very competitive product against the agent.”

Don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean that a robot will be selling your next home anytime soon.

“Something that AI and technology will never replace is agents,” says Fiore. “So, I think technology is always going to try and replace us, but one-on-one and face-to-face interactions, gaining trust and building relationships are still the keys.”