Index West Midlands launches due diligence technology for property lawyers
Index West Midlands Property Information has launched electronic customer due diligence (CDD) technology as part of its digital product and service portfolio for property lawyers.
The app, which is recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as fully compliant with all law firms’ legislation and regulation, can verify client identity and proof of address, eliminating the need to post documents or visit law firms’ premises.
It also carries-out anti-money laundering (AML) checks and compliance.
Kate Bould, managing director of Index West Midlands, said: “The greatest challenge for residential and commercial property lawyers is efficient due diligence checks on clients based in the UK and overseas.
“With the legal sector continuing to make great strides in using technology to provide better services and products to clients, this app is proving particularly popular with forward-thinking law firms using technology to reduce costs and deliver client benefits.
“Verifying addresses and identities of clients living nationwide or abroad and not locally to their offices is often difficult, and even more so under the current COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
“The simple and quick to use app removes the need for law firms to physically handle clients’ original documents, alongside running address checks, PEPs and sanctions screening.
“Neither the money laundering regulations or guidance require law firms to see or verify original documents, so those using a technology solution, or CDD, are not expected to duplicate checks by requesting original hard copies.”
Bould added: “With property purchases and sales representing the ‘weak link’ in the UK’s money laundering defences, and property lawyers being very much on the front line and under strict regulatory obligations to verify every client’s identity before any legal work takes place, a digital solution to the due diligence process is a robust, safe, quick and secure solution.
“The app is the quickest, safest, most convenient and efficient way for property lawyers to obtain an easy to read, comprehensive ID report that complements and supports a firm’s established robust policies, procedures and controls to meet all risk assessments.
“The law firms using it are reporting significant time savings for this process – reductions from an average of one week to one day to open new files and onboard new clients.”