The Purpose of a Global Watchlist

Table Of Content

What are Global Watchlists?

A watchlist is a database that contains the names, details and other relevant information on individuals or organisations which have been deemed as suspicious by governmental or regulatory authorities. These databases are used to identify or run checks against suspected terrorists, money launderers, fraudsters, politically exposed persons (PEPs), etc.

These are various watchlists, differing by format and data, and companies must adapt their screening process to guarantee that they can acquire the information needed to form a well-informed decision on a customer’s status during onboarding.

Individuals who find their way onto watchlists are usually guilty of having been caught by governments while carrying out criminal activities such as terrorism financing, human rights violations, treaty violations, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, and cybercrime.

Global watchlists are usually available to the public for viewing and access online. This allows firms around the world to be able to consult these watchlists when screening their customers easily. However, often watchlists contain thousands of names, many of which may be similar in spelling or pronunciation, this makes watchlist searches a burden on companies, which in turn leads them to reach out to automated screening processes such as digital name screening to perform sanctions checks effectively.

What are Some Global Watchlist Sources?

As mentioned previously, many global watchlist sources are varying by format and type. A few of the ones which are used for AML screening by companies during customer onboarding include but are not limited to the following:

  • List of sanctions published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the consolidated lists by the European Union (EU).
  • Information provided by supervisory authorities and independent regulatory bodies such as the SEC and FINMA.
  • Interpol and other intergovernmental and state-specific agencies.
  • Maintained databases.
  • Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) lists. 
  • The FATF’s graylists and blacklists which contain the names of countries that are infamous for money laundering. Individuals belonging to these countries are identified as high-risk automatically.
  • Denied Individuals Lists.
  • Exit Control Lists (ECLs).

The role of Global Watchlists in AML

For businesses and financial institutions preserving compliance with KYC and AML regulations is a must in a constantly developing consumer landscape. By doing so they can protect their customer base as well as their organisation’s reputation. With the ability to screen against multiple available global watchlists and various adverse media sources, they can carry out effective AML screening, thereby keeping them compliant and protected not just from fraudulent activity but also from financial penalties. These watchlists contain the names of those who are involved in money laundering activities, helping organisations steer clear of them in the first place.

Global Watchlist Screening Solutions

For firms to screen their customers against relevant global watchlists a sanctions screening solution should be incorporated into the AML/ Compliance process of a firm, this also accounts for greater KYC or Know Your Customer compliance. Such a solution needs to be updated and maintained regularly to ensure that it is in line with the latest developments to not fall short in the intricate world of compliance and screening.

To perform effective global watchlist screening, firms must also pay attention to their CDD or customer due diligence process, to accurately perform checks on customers relevant information about customers must be acquired such as names, addresses, dates of birth, business incorporation details, etc. 

How Digital AML Global Watchlist Screening works ?

While the checking of customers against countless global watchlists is a tiresome task, it is necessary to stay safe from threats, especially in the financial realm. Therefore, instead of companies having to manually carry out this task, the exponentially advancing digital world has made compliance convenient and hassle-free with digital global watchlist screening. Such as name screening, which is a process that pertains to the search of an individual’s name or other information in databases related to financial risk. Via name screening a company can automatically screen their customers against global watchlists using complex and smart algorithms. This cuts down the need for excessive time or manual labour to be spent on screening for compliance purposes and therefore also makes for effective regulatory compliance.

How Idenfo Direct helps Perform Global Watchlist Screening ?

It’s evident how manual screening through neverending watchlists is a challenge not only for the financial institution or company but also for their customers. That’s why automated screening is the way forward. Idenfo Direct offers digital name screening so companies can quickly identify high-risk customers and categorise them according to different risk profiles. This overall reduces the time spent screening, eliminates chances of human error and protects from partnerships and onboarding of illegitimate and suspicious entities. Achieve faster customer onboarding and greater customer satisfaction with our advanced name-screening solution.

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