With advancements in technology and constant regulatory updates, it is hard to know if your business has taken all the precautionary measures to ensure you ‘Know Your Customer’. You may have conducted due diligence at the time of customer onboarding as part of your Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure.
However, does a standalone vetting process or a one-off KYC solution suffice? Let us examine.
Many businesses are exposed to high risks because of the nature of their activities and customers. For instance, Financial Institutions and dealers in precious metals conduct high-value financial transactions with individuals and entities across the world, who could be politically exposed or sanctioned. The risk exposure is high as fund transfers and invoices are often used to conduct illegal activities, conceal sources of funds and launder illicit money. As customer profiles and business activities may change over time, businesses not only need to perform a one-off check, they also need to use an ongoing monitoring system as part of the. This is to ensure that risk profiles have not changed in such a way that exposes the firm to non-compliance and reputational damage.
Ongoing monitoring ensures that business activities are current and consistent with the risk assessment at the time of onboarding. Many firms automate this process to periodically examine changes in the PEP status, sanctions and adverse media. They screen against dynamic up-to-date global databases for monitoring any changes in client risks and exposure.
Ongoing monitoring is an important process for financial institutions and regulated entities that are required to maintain Anti Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) programmes by the regulators governing their jurisdiction.
Ongoing monitoring includes the following processes:
Whether you are a small gaming establishment, a real estate agent or an international money service business, you deal with clients who may be based overseas. So how do you keep track of the changing risks? How do you keep on top of compliance requirements and avoid exposure to financial crime and penalties? By having an ongoing monitoring programme in place that works like a sentinel looking out for your business health. Here are some instances where ongoing monitoring helps your business revisit your risk management plans.
Whether you are a small gaming establishment, a real estate agent or an international money service business, you deal with clients who may be based overseas. So how do you keep track of the changing risks? How do you keep on top of compliance requirements and avoid exposure to financial crime and penalties? By having an ongoing monitoring programme in place that works like a sentinel looking out for your business health. In some instances, ongoing monitoring helps your business revisit your risk management plans.
Most countries have lists of sanctioned entities or individuals with whom you are advised not to conduct business or maintain certain reporting norms. For instance, the OFAC list bars American citizens from conducting any business activity with entities sanctioned in the SDN list. However, some countries may not feature on any sanctioned/watchlist and yet are high risk for exposure to money laundering and terrorism financing. These are usually less developed countries prone to internal conflicts and frequently changing governments. A dishonest approach to financial crime influenced by political patronage has resulted in high levels of corruption and lack of regulation. Such countries require a customised ongoing compliance programme to avert your business from being used for ML/TF.
Business relationships with PEP or close associates, clients on a watchlist or belonging to a high-risk industry or sanctioned countries, are deemed high risk. It is important to have up-to-date data when checking your customers for risk exposure.
Ongoing monitoring is an automated compliance process that ensures your business is up to date with any changes related to your clients. It also works as a feedback mechanism used by the management.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a dramatic shift in the economic and financial scenario across the world. On one hand, rising unemployment has driven bad actors to use charity foundations and other business activities for financial fraud. Market volatility has doubled the price of cryptocurrencies driving individuals to park dirty money in virtual wallets.
On the other hand, money transfer businesses have witnessed a jump in transactions, with high risk and African countries, as stranded migrants send money home. Digital wallets and eCommerce businesses have grown phenomenally with the recent spike in demand for contactless home deliveries and digital payments.
These are regulated sectors with high exposure to money laundering/terrorist financing (ML/TF). The demand for a robust KYC tool and an ongoing monitoring mechanism that operates seamlessly is stronger than ever before.
Compliance laws for high-risk industries and high-risk countries keep evolving several times during the year. You need to adopt an ongoing monitoring approach that is beyond a onetime risk reporting solution. No static checks against siloed databases but automated monitoring that gives you results in minutes. So, go ahead and subscribe to an ongoing monitoring programme customised to your budget, risk exposure and need for reporting frequency. Check out the MemberCheck automated ongoing monitoring programme for daily checks, easily available through API.