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Anti Money Laundering

In the UK, it’s compulsory to comply with anti money laundering regulations. Whether your firm is in the finance, property, insurance or legal sector – SmartSearch can help.

What is Anti-Money Laundering (AML)?

Money laundering is when criminals integrate their illegally-obtained cash into the financial system, so it looks like it was earned legitimately. ‘Anti-money laundering’ refers to the laws, regulations, and procedures designed to prevent money laundering.

Firms in finance, property, law and insurance are legally obliged to comply with these AML regulations, as well as art markets and other high-value dealers. The compliance of these sectors contributes to the wider battle against financial crime, and protects firms within them from the risk of money laundering too.  

What is a smartsearch?

There are several different key components when it comes to AML checks, but a smartsearch incorporates KYC, PEP and sanctions screening, along with ongoing monitoring and enhanced due diligence. While a fragmented approach to these checks is time-consuming and inefficient, a smartsearch is one simple, holistic compliance solution.

Evolving Money Laundering Techniques

  • Money laundering in a post-pandemic world

    Just like everyone else, criminals are adapting to a post-pandemic world, and changing their means of operating as much of the global economy shifts online. From a surge in cybercrime - like phishing attacks and malware – to an increase in fraud, financial crime is constantly evolving.  

    SmartSearch TripleCheck is composed of three sophisticated verification methods, which form the most robust anti money laundering solution on the market. A combination of electronic ID verification, facial recognition and digital fraud checks, TripleCheck is the most effective way to protect your firm from financial crime. 

  • What controls are in place to prevent money laundering?

    Criminalisation

    Money laundering is a criminal act, punishable by trial, prison time or fine. There are 5 different kinds of money laundering offence which include:

    -       Helping a person or firm to retain the proceeds of crime.

    -       Obtaining, owning or using the proceeds of crime.

    -       Concealing the proceeds of crime to avoid detection.

    -       Failing to report suspicious activity to the authorities.

    -       Tipping off a suspect that they’re being investigated. 

  • KYC Checks

    A compulsory part of customer due diligence, KYC checks drastically reduce the risk of involvement with money laundering, by confirming your customer’s ID. The SmartSearch platform can quickly and accurately verify the identity of your client or customer, with no need for paperwork.  

  • Record Management

    Many financial institutions keep an archive of detailed records and transactions, in conjunction with software which raises an alert around any suspicious activity. Record management like this is a crucial defence against money laundering.

  • Holding Periods

    A simple but effective concept, holding periods are used by many banks to reduce the risk of criminals “washing” their cash by transferring it. With a holding period, any deposit must stay put in an account for a specific number of working days before it can be moved. 

  • Regtech

    Regulatory technology (or regtech) uses global databases and watch lists to run extensive checks, carry out ongoing monitoring and flag up anything suspect. Regtech platforms – like SmartSearch – are becoming increasingly advanced, and a foolproof way to ensure your anti money laundering compliance meets recent regulations. 

Just a few areas we can help you with:

What is the Money Laundering Directive (MLD)?

The MLD is a framework designed to strengthen the EU's defences against money laundering and terrorist financing. It requires all regulated businesses to verify the identity of their clients, monitor transactions and report anything suspicious. The latest MLD stipulates that electronic verification is used whenever possible.

Who needs to comply with AML regulations?

Any businesses that could be vulnerable to money laundering need to comply with AML regulations. Regulated sectors include legal, accountancy, investment, insurance, property and finance.

What happens if you don’t comply with AML?

Failure to comply with AML laws and regulations has severe consequences, from warning letters and damaged reputations to fines, sanctioning and, in the most serious cases, criminal prosecution.

How do you comply with the AML regulations?

You must carry out customer due diligence - including sanction and Politically Exposed Person (PEP) screening - to ensure your customers are who they say they are. This information must be recorded internally and kept up to date so that you can reassess your business risk if a customer’s circumstances change.

Get the help you need

Our unique verification platform offers the only KYC solution that also provides full Sanction and PEP screening and ongoing monitoring. All checks are automatically saved into the system to ensure watertight record-keeping meaning you can use just one piece of technology for all your AML and compliance needs. 

That’s where we come in

SmartSearch offers a one-stop-shop for all your firm’s AML requirements. The user-friendly system enables staff at any level to successfully run AML checks, and we are constantly updating and improving the platform to ensure it remains the leading AML solution on the market.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How regularly do the money laundering regulations get updated?

    There’s no fixed period between money laundering regulations changing, as they are often updated to reflect a change in the economy, technology or tactics employed by financial criminals. The most recent update was 5MLD, which came into force on 10th January 2020, but it’s impossible to predict when AML regulations might evolve – so it’s best to leave your compliance to an expert third party, like SmartSearch. 

  • What is a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering?

    Encouraged by both the FATF and the FCA, a risk-based approach requires that firms thoroughly assess the money laundering threat posed to their business, and deploy an appropriate amount of resources to counter it. This is a proactive approach which should enable companies to detect and diffuse any risk of money laundering before it can take place, whilst using resources efficiently. 

  • How do you report suspicious activity?

    If you encounter any suspicious behaviour, you should fill out a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) with all the relevant details, before submitting it to the National Crime Agency (NCA), via the SAR online system. The UK Financial Intelligence Unit then receives and processes SARs on behalf of the NCA. SARs can also be submitted anonymously, but your identity will remain confidential regardless. 

  • What is the history of anti-money laundering?

    The first European legislation passed in an attempt to bolster anti-money laundering efforts was the first Money Laundering Directive, which came into force in April 1994. Since then, 4 further MLDs have been brought into effect, to provide guidelines for companies in the finance sector on how to reduce the risk of money laundering. 

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