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Majority of regulated firms do not always complete essential identity checks
More than two-thirds of regulated firms (70%) do not always complete essential identity checks when taking on new individual customers, new survey data can reveal.

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Configuration and Customisation
Money laundering and financial crime is on the rise; according to SmartSearch’s latest report EV Uncovered III -Emerging financial sectors, over the past year, 40 percent of regulated firms have seen a rise in money laundering attempts, while more than a third (36%) have been a victim of financial crime in the past six months. In response to this increased risk, anti-money laundering (AML) regulation is also tightening, meaning that having robust systems in place to identify and mitigate money laundering has never been more important for regulated businesses in the UK. However, many are still not implementing compliance processes and procedures as they should. SmartSearch’s research found just 22% of firms ‘always’ verify new clients, while just 23% ‘always’ screen for sanctions and PEPs. Most firms utilise a third-party solution for their AML checks, which generally means they have their own customer onboarding process and customer database, with a separate system for their AML processes. In practical terms, this means entering client details into two or sometimes three or four separate databases – depending on whether or not they are using multiple vendors for their verification, screening and monitoring. Not only is this time-consuming and resource-heavy, but the duplication of data leaves the firms open to errors which could result in an AML breach.
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AML best practices for Financial Institutions
To launder their money, criminals need to use legitimate businesses – these include law, property, gaming and gambling firms as well as insurance and investment companies – basically any business that deals with client money. But one of the most common targets for money launderers is banks and financial institutions. Money launderers use a wide array of tactics to clean their cash via banks and financial institutions – from setting up shell companies from which to transfer funds into UK banks, to getting ‘mules’ to deposit dirty cash in low volumes, which then is moved around the world – through the banking system. Due to the vulnerability of the banking sector – and its critical importance to the stability, security and prosperity of the entire economy - the financial services industry is one of the most highly regulated sectors in the UK in terms of anti-money laundering (AML) rules.
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