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Agents ‘risking reputation’ by relying on manual AML checks

Agents are being warned that they risk financial and reputational costs by continuing to rely on manual methods of identity verification.

It comes as research by anti-money laundering (AML) platform SmartSearch found a quarter of 500 decision-makers at firms in the finance and banking, property and legal sectors admitted to verifying new customers using manual checks with hard-copy documents such as passports and driving licences.

Respondents also revealed that the documents took them days or even weeks to process – while only a third said they felt confident about being able to identify a fake.

SmartSearch has warned that firms are wasting hours of business time on the very processes which make them more vulnerable to money-launderers.

Martin Cheek, managing director of SmartSearch, said: “’Dirty money’ will continue to wash through the UK while firms persevere with time-consuming, flawed processes.

“We know that money-laundering attempts are on the rise, with almost half of regulated firms reporting an increase in attempts to launder money.”


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