CCR and HighRadius agree partnership

CCR and HighRadius have announced a major new partnership that will aim to bring knowledge and discussion to the industry.

The two have agreed to partner to bring a series of learning opportunities to the industry, including articles contributed by HighRadius, two research projects and virtual round-table debates, and an interview with a senior figure.

Stephen Kiely, editor of CCRMagazine, said: “Our priority will always be to bring our readers the most relevant information and analysis, so we are very proud to be working with such an important industry organisation on a on a year’s programme to do just that. I know that this will be a successful collaboration and that we will be able to continue with our mission to inform in these changing times.

“We will be starting to work towards the first research project and virtual debate very shortly, so I would encourage everyone to watch this space for further information!”

HighRadius provides a cloud-based Integrated Receivable Platform, powered by artificial intelligence. Its technology empowers organisations to reduce cycle time in the order-to-cash process and increase working capital availability by automating receivables and payments processes across credit, electronic billing and payment processing, cash application, deductions, and collections.

Find out more at www.highradius.com.

AML experts SmartSearch warn firms in property sector of increased threat of fraud in lockdown

Commenting on the latest lockdown measures, John Dobson, CEO at AML specialists SmartSearch, said: “Although in some ways it feels a lot like March 2020 all over again, there are some significant differences this time around. Not least, businesses have much more idea of what to expect and how to deal with operating in a lockdown scenario. And, crucially, sectors such as the property market will still be able to function.

“However, the order from the Government to return to working from home means once again those regulated businesses that require ID verification for customer onboarding processes, will be vulnerable to money laundering and attempts at financial fraud.

“The big shift we expect to see is many more businesses in that sector looking to electronic verification to onboard customers more securely. Not only is it more secure and quicker, it is also Covid-safe as it’s all done digitally.

“The technology is available to make a remote ID check for an individual online in less than two seconds, and a check for business in less than three minutes, with bank account checks, facial recognition and document verification to deliver additional layers of security for clients that are seriously risk averse. These are browser-based systems that can be up and running within 24 hours.

“It looks as if these restrictions will be in place for several months, so businesses need to have the systems in place to ensure they are compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) legislation.

“A lot of firms were targeted last year and fell victim to fraudsters because ID verification processes were manual and outdated.

“This time around there’s no excuse for leaving those gaps in security wide open for exploitation by criminals, with electronic verification as the only viable alternative today.”

SmartSearch launches most robust KYB checks on the market

Leading UK anti-money laundering (AML) and ID verification firm SmartSearch is launching the most comprehensive business-owner verification solution on the market, in a bid to counter the spike in the number of scams involving fake businesses.

The RegTech specialist has expanded the number of countries where it can carry out a business check to 165, and is targeting regulated firms in the legal, banking and financial services sectors with the enhanced service.

Under the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, Know Your Business (KYB) regulation requires firms to have an understanding of the ownership of any business they are entering into a commercial relationship with.

But in 2020 there has been a dramatic increase in the number of fake businesses being created by organised crime gangs, in order to commit fraud. And with little ID verification required to create a business, SmartSearch says it is a wide-open back door that is being exploited by fraudsters.

The SmartSearch business verification will cross-check the details given with multiple data sources including Companies House, Experian, Equifax and Dow Jones Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) and Sanctions lists, to ensure the most accurate pass rate.

John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch said most regulated businesses will do their KYB checks manually, using physical ID documents such as passports and driving licences, but it is much quicker and more reliable to use an electronic platform.

He adds: “Regulated businesses in the UK not only need to be compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) legislation but also KYB. Otherwise they are seriously exposed to fraud and also to financial penalties from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

“The expansion of our global database will cement our position as the most comprehensive anti-money laundering and ID check system on the market. We partner with the world’s best data suppliers to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for anti-money laundering checks which means SmartSearch has the most robust verification for KYB on the market.

“It makes sense to do a SmartSearch as you can validate the identity of a business and its directors in less than three minutes. That means it takes about the same time to do a SmartSearch as it does to make a cup of tea, and it will not only protect your business from fraud, but also ensure you’re compliant with current regulations.

“With SmartSearch solutions available via a web browser or API connections, businesses can be up and running and operational within 24 hours.”

SmartSearch is already the only AML platform that is able to verify individuals and corporate clients wherever they are based with full Sanction and PEP screening and ongoing monitoring.

No other provider offers this level of depth and breadth of functionality making SmartSearch unique in the marketplace and the essential “one-stop-shop” for all Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) needs.

SmartSearch continues growth with three senior appointments

Leading UK anti-money laundering (AML) firm SmartSearch expanded its senior team with three new appointments in November. The recruitment reflects the continuing growth of the Ilkley-based business which has also broken into new international markets this year.

The roles of vice president of customer success, head of sales and enterprise development manager have been created in response to the increasing demand for the award-winning solution.

SmartSearch’s anti-money-laundering verification platform conducts individual and business searches, both for the UK and international markets. It includes automatic worldwide sanction and politically exposed person (PEP) screening and ensures users are compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation.

Chris Clayton-White has been appointed vice-president of customer success and will be responsible for overseeing the client services team. With a background at established fintech businesses, Clayton-White brings a wealth of expertise along with significant experience of leading an enterprise client management team.

Lee Carter has joined as head of sales and will be responsible for delivering new business sales targets. Carter’s main focus will be on developing SmartSearch’s enterprise business solutions and sales methodology. Carter is a leading industry expert in KYC and fraud and has held senior sales and business development roles over the last 10 years.

Finally, Matt Bevan joins as enterprise business development manager and will be responsible for enterprise sales to large financial services firms, as well as introducing SmartSearch to new markets in gaming, telecommunications, insurance and retail. Bevan has experience working for a global IT company and has a background in identity and fraud business.

The new senior appointments follow SmartSearch’s recent hiring of international development director Martin Turvey to oversee expansion into US and European markets. Reflecting the global demand for the market-leading AML solution.

John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch said: “Having made good progress this year, our sights are now set on accelerating our success in 2021 and beyond. Our award-winning solution already serves around 40,000 users every day and this senior recruitment will support our growth into new sectors in the UK.

“Many of our clients enjoy the unique simplicity and comprehensive functionality delivered from our SmartSearch ‘plug & play’ platform, however, we are experiencing more demand from businesses that require an enterprise solution that they can tailor and integrate into their own technology.

“With the invaluable collective experience, Lee and Matt will help drive our expansion in to new and existing markets with our enterprise solutions whilst Chris will focus on the continued development of our extensive 4,500 client firms and oversee the delivery of our new enterprise solutions. They each bring new ideas and skillsets which will be invaluable in helping us to achieve our long-term aims.

“There is a huge market for anti-money laundering solutions in the UK and the events of 2020 have brought issues such as ID verification to the fore. This has generated great demand for our product, as we recorded our busiest ever month in September. These three new appointments will build on the success so far and help us achieve our goals in 2021.”

SmartSearch makes senior appointment to drive global growth

Leading UK anti-money laundering (AML) firm SmartSearch has bolstered its global growth ambitions with the appointment of an international development director, to oversee its expansion into US and European markets.

Martin Turvey has stepped into the role which has been created as part of SmartSearch’s ongoing business growth strategy, reflecting the global demand for the market-leading AML solution.

Turvey brings a wealth of knowledge to the SmartSearch team including invaluable insight into the US market after previously developing tech businesses in America. His network of contacts and huge experience will accelerate the establishment of the US office and he will be responsible for the ongoing development of SmartSearch there.

SmartSearch entered the US market in July and opened an office in Utah in October. Turvey will also oversee SmartSearch’s expansion into other international markets and the appointment reflects the RegTech firm’s ambition to expand the business throughout Europe, the US and other markets.

John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch said: “This appointment will enable us to develop our business in the USA and globally while at the same time continue to grow in our existing markets. Having someone with Martin’s experience in the US will be invaluable to our growth in this market.

“The initial signs are encouraging as we are already receiving huge interest from prospective clients in the US across sectors such as tier two banks, financial brokers, real estate, accountants and legal.

“Martin, together with our US national sales director, Chad Rawlings, will be well placed to cultivate that interest and develop the business further.”

Turvey adds: “The UK is the most heavily regulated place in the world for AML compliance and as the rest of the world is catching up, there is a great opportunity for SmartSearch to expand. All the tools and infrastructure are in place and our ambition is to grow internationally and become a major global presence.

“The SmartSearch solution is well established in the UK and market leading in terms of its level of accuracy, the range of data it draws from and the technology it uses. So, it’s now time for us to take the business into new markets globally.

“We are going to see increased levels of regulation not only in the USA but also Europe with the introduction of the Sixth EU Money Laundering Directive next month. Which means there is a real opportunity for SmartSearch to support businesses across a range of sectors, with a product that makes compliance easy and their business secure.”

Automation in AML: Almost 80% of businesses now using electronic checks, but trust remains low

One in five (21%) business decision-makers say they do not trust any of their anti-money laundering (AML) checks to be automated, despite this year’s lockdown preventing most physical checks.

The latest findings from leading AML software provider, SmartSearch, show a distinct lack of trust in electronic checks and verification, with 47% of senior business figures showing some level of distrust. While adoption of automated checks became commonplace during the UK’s first lockdown, a surprising 23% of businesses still have no automated processes in place when it comes to AML.

The findings are particularly prevalent as the nation braces for another lockdown, which will prevent many physical checks from taking place. With the figures in mind, SmartSearch is urging businesses to consider better automation processes to improve efficiencies and accuracy, to better navigate an ever-challenging business landscape.

Commenting on the findings, John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, said:“When lockdown hit first time, businesses suffered when it came to their AML checks. These need to be carried out by law, so when physical checks became impossible, it created a lot of issues for those who weren’t already automating at least some of their processes.

“In spite of this, we can see now that 23% of businesses still have no automation in place when it comes to AML checks. Lockdown or not, introducing automation in your business is going to create some major efficiencies and free up time to focus on other business priorities.”

When asked which of the standard customer authentication checks they would trust to be automated, RCA (relatives and close associations) checks were found to be the least trusted, with just 14% saying they would automate these.

According to SmartSearch’s data, the most and least trusted customer authentication checks are:

  1. Credit history – 29%
  2. Special Interest Person – 26.4%
  3. Customer Due Diligence – 23%
  4. Identity – 22%
  5. Sanctions and PIPs – 20.4%
  6. RCA (Relatives and close associates) – 14.6%

The accountancy industry appears best prepared for an age of automation in AML, with higher levels of trust that most. Among those working in this sector, almost a third (32%) said they fully trust the automated processes they currently have in place overall, reaching up to 56% for checks such as customer due diligence. However, 19% still admitted to having no automated checks in place in their business.

Advising businesses on what to consider when it comes to electronic verification, John added:“It’s understandable that there’s still some trepidation when it comes to e-verification and checks. You have to be able to trust that the system you’re using is totally accurate and reliable. However, if this year has taught us anything it’s that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore automation.

“There’s been so much innovation in the AML sector and we have recently launched our market-leading TripleCheck service, so I would urge those responsible for AML checks to research the options available to them. Getting your automation right could be a major help, as we all try and navigate 2020’s challenging business landscape.”

SmartSearch launched its TripleChecksystem earlier this year, providing businesses with the most robust AML solution available. The system is a pioneering new electronic KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML solution that combines innovative technology, including facial recognition and digital fraud checks, to create the most powerful AML platform on the market.

For more information about SmartSearch or its TripleCheck service, visit: https://www.smartsearch.com/

Comment: HMRC guidance step in the right direction for property AML

Commenting on HMRC guidance to estate and lettings agencies on their obligations regarding money laundering issues, Martin Cheek managing director at AML experts SmartSearch said: “In their new guidance HMRC specifically references the higher risks of virtual property transactions. However, this needn’t be the case.

“The pandemic forced most transactions to be conducted digitally and for those without a robust anti-money laundering policy in place, that heightens the risk of being exposed to the threat of financial fraud.

“In this new normal we find ourselves in, face-to-face identification processes are no longer viable, and nor are they necessarily reliable. But that shouldn’t mean doing deals entirely online should run a greater risk. In fact digital ID verification is more secure and accurate than expecting a customer to turn up in person with a piece of paper in hand to prove who they are.

“The new guidance from HMRC is a positive step in the right direction in the battle to stop money laundering through property. And by using a system such as SmartSearch TripleCheck, estate and lettings agencies can negate the risk of an online transaction and vet a prospective client in seconds.”

AML experts SmartSearch comment on FinCEN leak – ‘A betrayal that cannot go unpunished’

Responding to the FinCEN files revelations, John Dobson CEO at AML experts SmartSearch said: “This is nothing short of a betrayal for all those thousands of businesses doing their bit in the global fight against money laundering and financial fraud.

“We speak to customers in the UK and the US day-in, day-out, who are all working hard to make sure they have the best tools and technology available to prevent money laundering, and to be compliant with the law. While at the same time, if these documents can be believed, one of the world’s biggest banks has effectively turned a blind eye and enabled criminals to take full advantage.

“These revelations couldn’t have come at a worse time of course, with so many businesses reeling from the ongoing affects of the Covid 19 pandemic, and the extra security threats that has created. Events like these are hugely damaging for the banks involved but also for all the other banks who are trying to stamp out money laundering, and it cannot go unpunished.

“Over the years SmartSearch has developed more and more enhanced levels of security for its customers in a bid to stay ahead of the criminals. Never for a moment did we consider we’d have to stay one step ahead of the institutions we thought we were trying to protect.”

FCA must flex its muscle as threat of financial crime rises – SmartSearch

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that so far in 2020 no criminal prosecutions under the current anti-money laundering legislation have been made, despite its stated intention in 2019 to do so.

The revelation came from a Freedom of Information request, which also said it has discontinued half of its 14 investigations into possible breaches of AML rules in the UK.

Commenting on the findings, Martin Cheek, managing director at AML experts SmartSearch, said: “Due to the Covid-19 crisis we face an increasing threat of financial crime in the UK, and indeed around the world.

“So at a time when we should be ensuring every effort is made to crackdown on that increased threat, it’s a concern that the FCA has halved the number of cases it is investigating, and has yet to bring a single criminal prosecution.

“There has of course been some welcome enforcement activity with hefty fines handed out in recent months. However, now more than ever it would send out the right message if the FCA were to really flex its muscle and bring the full weight of their enforcement power to bear on offenders.”

The FCA said in a statement that it has changed its approach so that it is now conducting investigations into suspected breaches of the money laundering regulations that might give rise to either criminal or civil proceedings.

With less than four months left of the year it remains to be seen whether any criminal prosecutions will yet be brought about in 2020. But SmartSearch say that just as importantly, the FCA need to play a key role in encouraging firms to move with the times and use more secure technology to protect themselves against fraud and financial crime.

Cheek added: “The FCA faces a real challenge in dealing with the fallout of Covid-19 in terms of the increased levels of fraud and money-laundering, as criminals seek to take advantage of the situation.

“Unfortunately, there are still too many firms operating outdated processes that have not kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated methods employed by criminals, and they are vulnerable in this current climate.

“While we understand that methods of investigation may have changed at the FCA, it’s going to be important to see a criminal prosecution brought soon in order to draw a line in the sand and convert their intention into action.”

SmartSearch named one of UK’s top tech firms for second year running

Pioneering anti-money-laundering firm SmartSearch has been named in the Sunday Times Sage ‘Tech Track 100’ for a second successive year. The list, published on Sunday, recognises Britain’s 100 private tech companies with the fastest-growing sales over a three-year period.

Earlier in the year, the Yorkshire-based firm also reached 15th position in the Sunday Times Profit Track list, which focuses on profits rather than revenues.

SmartSearch is the UK’s leading provider of anti-money-laundering (AML) software. Its unique one-stop digital platform means regulated firms can meet all their ‘Know Your Customer’ and due diligence needs.

Full electronic identity verification and AML checks take just seconds to perform and can be conducted remotely, online or via a fully-integrated app, with no need for the customer to provide physical ID documents. For additional security, a passports or driving licence can be scanned digitally and advanced facial recognition technology used to authenticate customer identity.

SmartSearch has also recently begun piloting its groundbreaking ‘TripleCheck’ technology, which combines electronic verification, biometric facial recognition and digital fraud checks, to create the most robust and secure AML system available on the market.

The firm’s success and continued growth in the UK have recently led to expansion into North America, with the launch of SmartSearch into the US market in July.

John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch said, “We have achieved significant year-on-year growth ever since we started SmartSearch in 2011. This is testament to the hard work of the whole team, and it is wonderful to see this recognised in these prestigious listings.

“Never before has electronic verification and anti-money-laundering software been more important. Criminals are developing ever more sophisticated techniques, and global watchdogs have warned that fraudulent activity is on the rise in the wake of Covid-19.

“The restrictions put in place due to coronavirus have made it more important than ever that the wide range of financial and professional services firms likely to be targeted by money-launderers, have access to the very best technology to combat this threat.

“We have created a solution that is quick, affordable and almost instantaneous – as well as being significantly more reliable than manual document checks. A fully digital AML solution is the only way for firms to stay compliant while working remotely.”