Regulated firms who continue to rely on manual methods of verification are risking the financial and reputational costs which accompany breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

They are also wasting hours of business time on the very processes which make them more vulnerable to money-launderers.

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

A quarter of 500 decision-makers at firms in the finance and banking, property and legal sectors who took part in a SmartSearch survey admitted to verifying new customers using manual checks with hard-copy documents such as passports and driving licences.

And they 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 launched a next-generation version of its AML platform, which boasts a seamless new interface as well as a host of features and a level of configurability to make onboarding new customers quicker, simpler and more cost-effective.

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

“Our next-generation platform allows clients to perform all of the necessary checks in a matter of seconds. And its scalability means that regulated firms of all sizes can take advantage of the cost savings and peace of mind which our enhanced technology delivers.”

The firm’s seamless onboarding solution has been a key factor in its success, allowing clients to streamline their compliance processes and reduce the risk of fraud and financial crime.

The enhanced platform offers a range of other benefits, such as automatic updates to client records and the ability to perform ongoing monitoring and due diligence checks, to ensure that clients are always up to date with the latest compliance requirements and can quickly identify any potential risks.