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The term ‘anti-money
laundering’ refers to the set of laws, regulations, and procedures in place to
prevent money laundering.
Money laundering is the
process criminals use to disguise illegally obtained funds as a legitimate
income, which involves “washing” the proceeds of financial crime. This is done
by integrating the “dirty” money into the financial system, so it looks like it
was earned legitimately.
There are three distinct
stages of the money laundering process – placement, layering and integration.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of these steps over on our dedicated money
checks[JS1] are a key component of the global anti-money
laundering effort, and typically involve ID verification, as well as the
screening of potential clients and customers to determine the level of risk
they might pose to your business.
In line with EU money laundering
business in the regulated sector is legally obliged to adopt a risk-based
approach, which entails checking new clients and customers against
international sanctions lists, PEP lists and SIP lists. These checks enable you to identify any
high-risk customers, and perform enhanced due diligence (or EDD) wherever
Enhanced due diligence is a more in-depth process of investigation,
and generally includes adverse media checks, which will shed light on the reputation
of the individual or business within the industry, and could reveal historic
indiscretions. If you’re
considering a deal with a high-risk customer, you should also continuously
monitor sanctions and PEP lists as part of your enhanced due diligence, to
ensure you’re aware of any changes in their status.
Simply put – AML checks and
EDD allow you to make an informed decision when going into business with a new
individual or business, with clear visibility of any risk they pose to your
AML and KYC are often used
as interchangeable terms, but they don’t have the same definition. AML, which
stands for anti-money laundering, usually refers to the regulations, laws and
measures in place to try and deter criminals by making it harder for them to
disguise the proceeds of financial crime.
Meanwhile, KYC – which
stands for know your customer – is a series of checks that must be carried out
as part of your risk-based approach to AML compliance. KYC
and KYB (know your business) checks are often the first stage when onboarding a
new potential client or customer, and they essentially verify the identity of
an individual or business.
AML is a complex,
ever-evolving process, and your compliance measures must always reflect the
most recent regulations – which can be imposed at a national or international
As well as this, AML checks
themselves are time-consuming and expensive to carry out manually, and often
require the presence of physical documents from each customer or client.
SmartSearch is an
end-to-end electronic AML platform, which encompasses every stage of the
process, from initial checks and KYC, right through to sanctions screening and
ongoing monitoring. What’s more, our industry-leading platform is completely
automated, making manual checks a thing of the past – and with access to global
databases like the Dow Jones Watchlist, you can count on our service to be as
accurate as it is fast.