A special interest person, or SIP for short, is usually a well-known individual with a history of financial crimes, or other activities which make them a high-risk prospect. They do not need to be convicted to be considered as special interest; rather, they could be facing court proceedings, or merely have previous allegations of serious crimes.
There is no law against working with SIPs, but researching the reputation of your potential customer or client is an important factor in AML compliance. Involving yourself with a special interest person, whether intentionally or otherwise, puts your firm at greater risk of money laundering and other financial crimes.
How do you identify SIPs?
SIPs and SIEs (special interest entities) are often discovered when carrying out different elements of due diligence, like running through sanctions checks or adverse media screenings. There’s no official list or database where you can search for SIPs, so identifying them is a judgement call based on any historic involvement or accusations of money laundering, fraud and the like.
A customer or client might qualify as special interest if they have committed (or are rumoured to have taken part in) any of the following acts:
- Financial crimes, like tax evasion, theft, money laundering and fraud
- Organised crime
- Terrorism or terrorism financing
- Extortion, bribery or other forms of corruption
- Trafficking illegal goods
- Arms dealing
SmartSearch uses cutting-edge systems from Dow Jones to track down SIPs and SIEs. Dow Jones is a third-party that provides risk management solutions, and specialises in anti-money laundering compliance.
Working with Dow Jones, we have access to unique and in-depth data like the Daw Jones WatchList: an expertly researched database of potential high-risk persons and entities, that’s updated daily.
Why is identifying SIPs important?
By establishing whether or not your potential client is special interest, you can protect both the reputation and financial integrity of your business. Alongside adverse media research, checking sanctions lists for SIPs can prevent you from unwittingly working with a person or organisation who has been convicted or accused of fraud, money laundering or other behaviour which makes them a high-risk client.
It isn’t illegal to go into business with SIPs or SIEs; the decision to do so is at your own discretion, but it’s important that this decision is an informed one.
SIEs vs. SIPs
SIEs, or special interest entities, are companies or organisations who pose an AML risk due to a current or historical involvement in financial crimes. As with SIPs, there is no official list where SIEs are registered, so determining which businesses can be deemed special interest is at your discretion.
However, both SIPs and SIEs may be cited on watchlists within the industry itself; this is usually a clear indicator that the person or entity in question is an AML threat.
How SmartSearch Can Help
Identifying SIPs involves filtering through vast quantities of complex data, and doing this process manually is neither time nor cost efficient; it also leaves room for human error. SmartSearch uses reliable third-party data from Daw Jones to check the details of your customers against industry watchlists – the whole process is automated, so not a stone goes unturned. If there’s a match, the SmartSearch team carries out a more in-depth manual analysis, to assess the risk this SIP poses to your business.
By providing a complete AML solution, SmartSearch can assist you with every aspect of your AML compliance, from initial checks right through to ongoing monitoring. Our AML services are approved by JMLSG, so if you’re looking for an easy and secure way to meet the ever-changing AML regulations, SmartSearch can help.