What we do

Sanctions Search and PEP Screening

Our automated platform uniquely equips you to carry out sanction searches and checks for PEPs and RCAs. If our software finds a match for your client, we’ll filter out false negatives, and alert you once the match has been confirmed.

What are Sanctions and PEPs?

Sanctions are restrictions used to stop individuals and entities who are involved in – or suspected of – illegal activities from engaging in certain industries. Government bodies and financial authorities both issue sanctions lists; these can be used to screen individuals and organisations for financial sanctions.

A PEP, or Politically Exposed Person, is someone who holds a prominent position in public life – for example a senior member of government or law enforcement – making them more vulnerable to bribery and corruption.

Sanctions searches and PEP screenings are a central component of your AML checks, as they confirm that your client doesn’t present a money laundering risk. 

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What is PEP and Sanction screening?

PEP and sanctions searches are part of the Customer Due Diligence (or KYC) process; individuals and businesses are identified and verified, and then their details are checked against sanction and PEP lists.

Why do we need to screen for Sanctions and PEPs?

While it is not illegal to work with PEPs or those on a Sanctions list, they pose a greater risk and businesses need to know if a customer has been identified as a PEP or is on a Sanctions list so they can assess the risk of working with them.

What is RCA Screening?

RCA stands for Relatives and Close Associates, defined as any individuals or businesses that are either related to or closely associated with a PEP. It’s important to identify RCAs as they may be vulnerable to bribery, blackmail and corruption due to their relationship with someone in a position of authority and influence.

How do I monitor Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)?

Lists of PEPs are publicly available, but there is no central source, so keeping records up to date manually is almost impossible. The best way to monitor PEPs is via an electronic AML platform with daily monitoring. SmartSearch uses the Dow Jones WatchList which has access to more than 1,100 PEPs and Sanctions lists and is updated daily.

Get the help you need

The SmartSearch system completes Sanction and PEP screening on every AML check you perform, automatically triggering Enhanced Due Diligence on any matches. It then screens all customers every night and alerts you of any changes.

There’s no official source that lists all sanctions, PEPs and RCAs, so manual screening is challenging. What makes SmartSearch screenings so accurate? We use the Dow Jones WatchList – a combination of over 1,100 databases, updated daily.  

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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

  • What are financial sanctions?
    Financial sanctions are legal restrictions, put in place by the government to limit or prevent entirely the trading of individuals, companies or whole countries. They are usually levied against people or corporations who have committed financial crimes, and fall into one of three categories: the freezing of assets, specific restrictions on financial markets and orders to cease all trading.
  • What are sanctions lists?
    Used by financial authorities and governments all over the world, sanctions lists are databases which detail all the financial sanctions that are currently active in a specific state, country or continent. Some of the most well-known examples in the industry are the United Nations list, the UK Consolidated list and the EU Consolidated list.
  • Which sanctions are included in the UK sanctions list?
    The UK Consolidated list, which is the most widely used official list of financial sanctions in the UK, details three types of sanctions. These are the following: targeted asset freezes, financial restrictions and directions to cease all business.
  • Which countries are subject to sanctions?
    Every country is legally obliged to adhere to any financial sanctions levied against it, if it’s enforced by the relevant authorities (for example, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation in the UK).
  • What are the risks when you fail to screen for sanctions?
    If you fail to include a sanctions search when carrying out your AML checks, you could end up unwittingly entering into business with a client or customer who is currently sanctioned. In the UK, having dealings with any sanctioned business or individual is illegal if those dealings break the terms of the arrangement, except in very specific circumstances when a license is required. If you’re found out, the consequences can include substantial fines or even a prison sentence, as it’s considered an AML compliance failure.

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