A Quick Guide to AML Compliance & Sanction Search

AML Compliance and Sanction Search

Anti-money laundering (AML) compliance is vital for organisations. Companies that are obliged to perform anti-money laundering procedures, should always be aware of its dangers and stay up-to-date on AML regulations to eliminate any potential activities of money laundering.

AML checks and screening help to eliminate money laundering efforts. If a company understands everything there is to know about staying compliant with AML legislation through these checks, they will be better off in the long run. It’s certainly preferable than the alternative - fines for non-compliance, and possibly irreparable damage, both financially and reputationally.

What is Money Laundering?

Firstly it’s important to understand what money laundering actually means.

Money laundering is the process of moving money to hide its original source. Illegal money (sometimes called black money) which is obtained through illicit activities is transferred through various patterns to hide its trail, and manipulate authorities.

Such illicit activities include drug selling, terrorism, human trafficking and others. 

People manipulate banks, financial organisations, stock exchanges and various other types of businesses, to launder money. The aim of it is to seamlessly “wash” this illegal money and mix it with money that’s obtained legally (i.e. white money). This can be done in hundreds of different ways, by masking the placement, layering and integration of illegal money through legal means. Money laundering is very difficult to detect but there are a few steps which obliged companies can take.

What is AML Compliance?

Anti-money laundering compliance is the process of conducting background checks and financial checks while monitoring customers to identify and eliminate any efforts of money laundering.

Customers are screened against various lists, including:

  • Global watchlists
  • Sanctions
  • PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons) lists

AML checks and financial sanctions checks are required by industries including banks, building societies, stock exchanges, estate agencies and many others.

Why is AML Compliance Important?

AML compliance is not just another regulation to adhere to for the sake of it. It’s primarily there to provide a level of risk mitigation and protection. There are several reasons why AML screening is vital:

  • It helps to prevent fraud, which is on the rise given that many people are relying on technology following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Non-compliance results in losses; not just in the money that launderers can make, but also in fines, credit ratings plummeting and even closure of a business.
  • Businesses and banks which adopt AML screening solutions help customers feel secure.
  • If a business or bank takes a reputation hit thanks to a money-laundering scandal, its market value will suffer.

Eurocom CI are a recognised, authorised background check provider who work with numerous businesses to conduct their AML checks online. We provide authentication searches to ensure a business is compliant with money laundering guidelines, as defined by the JMLSG and Money Laundering Regulations 2019.

We also conduct a particular type of financial check, which is called a Sanction Search.

What is the Sanction Search?

A sanction search is a specialised type of background screening. Sanction checks are searches, against a number of government sanction databases, which identify individuals that are prohibited from certain activities.

Sanction searches are available to a wide variety of employers and are mandatory for certain regulated industries like financial services and government departments.

A sanction is defined as a preventative measure, often implemented by governments to change behaviour and prevent illicit activities such as money laundering. Sanctions lists are collections of sanctions imposed on individuals, groups or companies. These are usually compiled by international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations.

Eurocom CI can verify people against consolidated sanctions lists, to determine their suitability for a business. 

AML Checks and Sanction Checks from Eurocom CI

Companies and banks must ensure they develop cohesive AML compliance policies, which include the measures they will take to prevent money laundering. 

Under the UK’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, the UK government is still under EU sanctions jurisdiction until December 31st 2020. The UK passed the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (SAMLA) in 2018, which gives the UK government greater flexibility to impose their own sanctions. 

At the risk of non-compliance penalties, fines and measures, companies in the UK should understand UK AML laws, familiarise themselves with the relevant financial authorities and implement a strong AML compliance policy. Eurocom CI can help you along the way by conducting relevant checks and background screening processes. We conduct background checks against recognised standards including the SMCR, PCI DSS and others. 

Speak to us today to see how we can help you.