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Outdated processes heighten risk of AML breaches

Outdated processes heighten risk of AML breaches

Regulated firms who continue to rely on manual methods of verification are risking the financial and reputational costs which accompany breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, an industry expert has warned.

They are also wasting hours of business time on the very processes which make them more vulnerable to money-launderers.

Martin Cheek, the managing director of leading digital compliance provider SmartSearch, says ‘dirty money’ will continue to wash through the UK while firms persevere with time-consuming, flawed processes.

A quarter of 500 decision-makers at firms in the finance and banking, property and legal sectors who took part in a SmartSearch survey admitted to verifying new customers using manual checks with hard-copy documents such as passports and driving licences.

And they also revealed that the documents took them days or even weeks to process – while only a third said they felt confident about being able to identify a fake.

SmartSearch has just launched a next-generation version of its industry leading AML platform, which boasts a seamless new interface as well as a host of features and a level of configurability to make onboarding new customers quicker, simpler and more cost-effective.

Mr Cheek said: “We know that money-laundering attempts are on the rise, with almost half of regulated firms reporting an increase in attempts to launder money.

“Our next-generation platform allows clients to perform all of the necessary checks in a matter of seconds. And its scalability means that regulated firms of all sizes can take advantage of the cost savings and peace of mind which our enhanced technology delivers.”

The firm's seamless onboarding solution has been a key factor in its success, allowing clients to streamline their compliance processes and reduce the risk of fraud and financial crime.

The enhanced platform offers a range of other benefits, such as automatic updates to client records and the ability to perform ongoing monitoring and due diligence checks, to ensure that clients are always up to date with the latest compliance requirements and can quickly identify any potential risks.

But it’s SmartSearch's focus on user experience – through customer feedback – which has really driven the development of the new platform. It is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, with clear instructions and guidance throughout the onboarding process, ensuring that clients can quickly and easily perform the necessary checks without the need for extensive training or support.

The platform has also been widely praised for its accuracy and reliability. SmartSearch's proprietary algorithms are able to quickly and accurately cross-reference data from a wide range of sources, including credit reference agencies, electoral rolls and government databases. This ensures that clients can be confident in the accuracy of their compliance checks and reduce the risk of false positives or false negatives.

SmartSearch’s digital compliance solution supports more than 6,000 clients and 55,000 users across the finance, legal, accountancy, property, gaming, banking, insurance, investment, property development and cryptocurrency sectors, running millions of complex identity checks in seconds through a single platform with an industry-leading match and pass rate.

The platform is already trusted by one in three of the UK’s top 200 law firms, 1 in 2 of the top 100 accountancy firms and more than 1,000 property companies.

Martin Cheek added: “The new SmartSearch platform is what electronic verification (EV) should look like – and is exactly why the 2020 Money Laundering and Terrorist Finance Act recommends that regulated firms use EV as part of their due diligence to make it as effective as possible.”

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