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Sanctions checks are a part of customer due diligence, KYC and AML procedures and are specialized searches to identify individuals who are prohibited ‘sanctioned’ from certain activities or industries. Financial sanctions are a significant part of the global fight against financial crime and money laundering, and are used by governments across the globe in order to restrict or prohibit trade with countries, individuals, businesses and entities that are involved in - or suspected of being involved in - illegal activities. Sanctions may also be used against parties that are not directly involved in financial crimes, but, may be assisting or acting on behalf of others who are, or who are suspected of doing so. To assist businesses in determining who is, and who is not, the subject of financial sanctions, governments and financial authorities issue sanctions lists which can be used to screen individuals and businesses.
Sanctions lists are publicly available, but to check them manually can be very time consuming and not hugely accurate. Using the lists may also require prior knowledge of known sanctions, so individuals may be listed on sanctions lists by their alias and not their names. The best way to screen customers and potential customers against sanctions lists is to use an automated electronic verification platform. SmartSearch has access to the best data sources in the world, including the Dow Jones WatchList which is compiled of more than 1,100 PEP and sanctions lists and is updated daily. SmartSearch automatically runs sanctions checks on all AML searches, and as part of the daily monitoring service, will screen all customers on its database every night to check for any changes to their status. If a name matches, SmartSearch will automatically run enhanced due diligence to ascertain if the match is a false positive by cross-checking the data with other sources. If the match is a correct match, SmartSearch will alert the business if the change to allow them to investigate further.
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