Firms need to take action as new rules aimed at tackling money-laundering come into force today according to Martin Cheek, managing director of SmartSearch.
The new regulations state that regulated businesses can use electronic verification instead of traditional methods of KYC such as passports, driving licences and utility bills.
Cheek (pictured) said that now all financial services firms, solicitors, accountants, estate agents and letting agents not currently using electronic verification will need to re-evaluate their customer due diligence processes.
He said: “The government – and the EU – are right to want to see more use of electronic verification.
“It’s been shown to be more reliable, quicker and more cost effective than manual checks.
“Plus, firms can have highly efficient screening and ongoing monitoring for politically exposed persons and sanctions, all of which are a requirement of the anti-money laundering rules.
“It’s a pity the regulations didn’t appear until so late in the day, but it is imperative that firms take action now to show they comply with the new regulations or else they could face a significant fine.
“There is increased national and international focus on the scourge of money-laundering and terrorist financing and electronic verification is an easy way to help prevent this.
“At SmartSearch we make it our business to stay up-to-date with all the latest developments so our clients who use SmartSearch for their checks can be sure they are compliant at all times.”