SME Q3 2018

22 SME NEWS / Q3 2018 , SmartSearch offers a unique anti money laundering online platform that allows customers to electronically verify UK and international individuals and corporate bodies. In August, SmartSearchwere named in the 2018 SME Business Elite Awards as the ‘Best Anti Money Laundering Verification Platformof the Year’. On the back of this well-deserved achievement, we spoke to John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch, to find out how they have helped forge the UK’s Anti Money Laundering (AML) industry. The Experts in Anti Money Laundering Services SmartSearch was created in 2011 in response to the 2007 Money Laundering Regulations, capitalising on an opportunity to create one of the early electronic individual AML verification platforms in the UK. Today, by working across a plethora of business sectors - including, law, finance, insurance, and real estate – they have helped secure swift AML verification and delivered fraud prevention solutions for their clients. In this, they remain at the very forefront of a highly competitive industry in one of the fastest developing sectors in the professional world. At the heart of the firm, as it has from the very beginning, lies a demand for excellence- that is, to provide fully-compliant, meticulous verification services at the best value for money. SmartSearch believes, fundamentally, in protecting their clients from non- compliance. As John explains; “We seek to be the only AML resource our clients need to satisfy their AML, sanction and PEP regulatory obligations. In doing so we want to deliver the best value for money and a complete compliant solution that will stand up to rigorous scrutiny by any regulator. We aim to keep our client firms continually protected against daily changes to sanction and PEP watch-lists and regulatory legislation.” With a foundation firmly in the technological, SmartSearch have stayed ahead of the curve by adopting a proactive, future- centric approach to their work. Recent years have only yielded an increase in fraudulent crimes, as criminals find ways to evolve and ‘win’ the securities arm race. John takes a moment to emphasise this as a greater trend in the industry, and how it has affected SmartSearch; “there has been a significant increase in fraud and financial crime over recent years, and much of this is perpetrated by the use of false identities supported by forged or fake documents. As a result, there has been a significant move away from manual checking and copying identity documentation to other more reliable forms of substantiation, such as electronic verification and facial recognition.” “As criminal activity increases, we are likely to see government departments place more responsibility on businesses to be more vigilant to protect the consumer, and some of this scrutiny will apply to more rigorous client verification at the onboarding stage and beyond.” We stop to ask John what he believes has contributed to SmartSearch’s enduring success, “SmartSearch offers a great one-stop-shop AML compliance platform, with a unique customer service culture and high (98%) client retention rate. Further, we continually develop innovative ways to keep ahead of changes in regulation. Finally, we have a well proven sales process to deliver consistent growth.” John believes that SmartSearch’s ability to be a “one-stop-shop AML compliance platform” is crucial to their ability to 1809SM06 distinguish themselves from their ever-increasing number of competitors and imitators, “Most of our competitors operate their AML services as an ‘add-on’ to their existing main service offerings, typically giving them less time for innovation and customer care. Our business is 100% focused on delivering the very best AML service and an excellent customer experience.” Naturally, as a prominent business working in the UK, John is eager to discuss the unique benefits of the market; “There is clear regulation to be able to establish solutions; good technology and internet infrastructure; an abundance of readily available, high quality data that is absent in other markets, and a strong compliance regime with penalties for non-compliant businesses. All of these create a positive and worthwhile environment to develop and deploy compliance solutions.” Moreover, John is optimistic about the future of the UK market, regardless of the looming possibility of Brexit, “we have no concerns. In fact, if anything, Brexit should give us greater freedom, and the compliance regimes will remain as tight as or even tighter than they currently are.” More specific to SmartSearch, John believes that the future of electronic identification is assured, with electronic AML