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To perform customer due diligence - also known
as CDD - firms must identify the client, and then verify they are who they’re
claiming to be. This process involves obtaining details about the individual,
including their name, photograph, address and date of birth. This is usually
done by gaining access to documents like passports, driving licenses or utility
To carry out customer due diligence for a
business, you’ll need to check the company is registered with Companies House, and identify any persons
of significant control (PSCs). You’ll also need to find out if there are any ultimate beneficial owners, as well
as looking at the company's annual returns and statements.
The CDD process is a crucial part of every
firm’s effort to remain AML compliant. By verifying the
identity of your potential client, you minimise the chance of going into
business with a high-risk individual or entity, who could make your company
more vulnerable to money laundering.
Customer due diligence is required at the
onboarding stage, when your firm is in the process of bringing in a new
customer. Every firm that’s subject to money laundering regulations should
be performing CDD as part of their risk-based approach to AML. This not only
includes all businesses in the financial services sector, but also:
High value dealers
Money service businesses, that
aren’t monitored by the FCA
Telecom, digital & IT
payment services that aren’t monitored by the FCA
Bill payment service providers
that aren’t monitored by the FCA
Most firms still complete their customer due diligence
manually. This involves checking physical ID documents to verify the person’s
name, address and date of birth, and then checking that person’s details
against sanctions and PEP lists.
However, manual checks leave room for human error,
as passports and other documents can be easily forged. Electronic ID verification
is by far the most reliable way to complete AML checks, as it cross-checks a
person’s details using multiple data platforms, as well as screening for sanctions
and PEPs. If the documents or details provided are fake, electronic ID verification
will expose this.
SmartSearch is a unique AML platform, which uses
electronic ID verification to perform CDD quickly and accurately. This
end-to-end product incorporates fully automated sanction, PEP, SIP and RCA screening, offering a
‘one-stop-shop’ to verify individuals and businesses. The platform also offers
daily monitoring to ensure all client firms remain fully compliant and
protected throughout the life of their contract.