Electronic verification – the ease of integration for IFAs

Independent Financial Advisors (IFA’s) and Networks are heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) due to the risks of being vulnerable to financial crime.  It is vital that every action is audited, and records are kept of all activities.

In order to simplify these processes Electronic AML checks offer the most comprehensive and failsafe solution to compliance for IFA’s, ensuring they remain audit ready. However, the switch can be daunting for those who may be reluctant to replace their current API or CRM system.

In our latest blog, AML and IFA expert Michael Shaw explores how electronic verification platforms such as SmartSearch can seamlessly integrate with an IFA’s current processes and systems, ensuring they remain compliant with FCA regulations at all times.

Electronic AML checks have been around for some time now, and SmartSearch is one of the world’s leading online platforms, delivering KYC requirements, Sanctions and PEP checks and ongoing monitoring, all in one place.

Most customers already have their own CRM when they adopt SmartSearch, and then use the platform as a standalone solution, keying in the client information from their own platform, running the check and downloading the results before uploading the evidence back onto their own system.

However, SmartSearch is increasingly working with clients looking to integrate the platform’s capabilities with their existing customer databases through API (application programming interfaces). This enables their existing system to connect with SmartSearch and exchange data sources so that users only need to key in customer information once. From there they are able to automatically run an AML check and attach the results to the client record.

Integration not only makes it easier to upload customer information, but it also allows clients to create their own unique workflows. For example, if they perform a SmartSearch on a client and it passes, they can send the result one way, but if it triggers a PEP or Sanction match, they can automatically send it on another route for Enhanced Due Diligence.

Users are also able to customise the technology to fit their own requirements, adapting it and changing it as they need to, with the ability to retrieve management information, create fresh copies of AML Certificates and turn ongoing monitoring on and off as needed. And by having both their customer database and SmartSearch integrated into one system, clients are always audit ready and able to produce evidence of their AML compliance quickly and easily.

So far, SmartSearch has been integrated with more than 700 existing clients’ systems - both directly and via 3rd party providers - and with an increasing number of regulated firms moving to remote working and relying more and more on cloud-based technology for day to day tasks, demand is expected to grow further.

Guy Harrison, CEO of SmartSearch said:

“Before Covid-19 hit, we were already seeing increasing numbers of clients looking to integrate the platform to improve processes. But then, as a result of the pandemic, many regulated firms across the UK were forced to update their internal databases and IT systems to enable staff to work from home, and this in turn accelerated the need to integrate AML searches to enable staff to complete the entire onboarding process remotely, from one system.

“And while people are now returning to the office, the way we all work has fundamentally changed, with many people working from home at least some of the time. We therefore expect to see more and more clients looking to bring all their customer processes under one roof.”

Michael Shaw
by Michael Shaw

Enterprise Business Development Manager

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