Delivering a future-proof AML system that makes ‘Legacy’ a thing of the past

Verifying individuals, businesses or corporate clients can be extremely challenging and time-consuming, with most lenders, brokers and estate agents using multiple data sources, both on and off-line, and a mixture of documents and software platforms.

But this process can be simplified, streamlined and future-proofed by using a dynamic electronic verification platform.  The SmartSearch platform has integrated AML, anti-fraud and KYC datasets into a single platform, which means there is no longer a need to use documentary evidence in AML processes.

By removing the countless information systems and service providers needed when completing manual checks, SmartSearch can reduce the time taken for an Individual AML check to two seconds, meaning firms are able to start work with new clients immediately.

Not only this, but where other electronic AML systems simply produce a fail result on sanction and PEP matches, requiring the user to conduct their own enhanced due diligence.  SmartSearch delivers all of the relevant information to enable this to be done immediately.  The platform also provides a daily monitoring service.

But it hasn’t always been like this. When we launched SmartSearch in 2012, it delivered a standard AML verification service for individuals, and a simple sanction and PEP pass or fail check.

And while at the time, this was a welcome advancement in the fight against money laundering, we learnt very quickly that if we wanted to dominate this service sector of AML, KYC and Customer Due Diligence compliance, we needed our platform to be dynamic enough to ensure it went above and beyond what was already available and was always one step ahead.

So, since 2012, we have continually developed, improved and advanced the capabilities of our original verification platform to ensure it remains the market leader in electronic AML solutions.

One of the biggest developments was recruiting Dow Jones’ as a Data Partner and the use of their Worldwide Factiva Watch-list database, this enabled us to offer the most comprehensive sanction and PEP checking available along with a “daily monitoring” service.  

Other developments include working with Companies House, so that all documents filed can be retrieved directly from the SmartSearch platform, with an alerts service when any new documents, such as annual returns, have been filed.

And one of the most important and successful innovations since the launch of the platform is Smart AML – a fully integrated app for all registered SmartSearch users to perform real-time AML checks on their iPhone, Android or tablet when they are out and about with clients.

The app reads the name, full address and date of birth from the driving licence, all the user adds is their title (Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc.) and press send.  The Smart AML App then validates the information against the credit reference databases and automatically screens the person against worldwide sanction and PEP watch-lists which contain around 2.5 million data subjects. 

The results are delivered back to the user in seconds with a green tick or a red cross and automatically uploads the search detail into the full SmartSearch system back at the office, for the rare occasions that enhanced due diligence needs to be performed.  

And it is this constant stream of improvements and advancements that really set us apart.   Where other AML platforms offer their clients a service that doesn’t change, requiring the users themselves to upgrade or change platform provider to ensure they are still meeting the ever-changing AML regulations, SmartSearch is constantly evolving.

Every time there is a change in regulation, the SmartSearch platform is upgraded to incorporate that change. If a client has a good idea for an improvement, we will modify the platform and that change will benefit all clients, automatically, at our cost.

New clients who have previously used other platforms are always impressed with how intuitive the system is but also, by how dynamic it is. They will say to us ‘but what happens in five years’ time?’ what system will be available then? And we say ‘this one!’ and they are always surprised that we are able to offer a future-proof system where legacy is a thing of the past.

We have developed the SmartSearch platform with user-friendliness and ease of use at the top of the agenda, and it has been designed to allow constant developments to ensure we are always at the forefront of AML compliance. 

Fraser Mitchell
by Fraser Mitchell

Technical Director

See more articles by Fraser Mitchell
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