With an increase in Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) fines in recent months, X-Press Legal Services is urging law firms to take up its AML service to ensure compliance as the regulatory body imposes tougher penalties.

Failing to comply with procedural responsibilities; not providing a firm-wide AML risk assessment and delays in AML declarations were the main reasons for recent fines being issued. Identifying the genuine identity of a person is paramount to the transaction process to assess what risk they might pose to the UK’s fight against money laundering.

As part of its due diligence offering for law firms and conveyancers, X-Press Legal Services offers both traditional and digital ID checks.  Through its Intelligent Conveyancing Online System (ICOS) conveyancers can order AML, Lawyer Checker and Thirdfort verification searches in a simple four-step process – reducing admin time, whilst improving efficiency and accuracy.

Lynne Lister, Managing Director at X-Press Legal Services comments: “AML investigations continued throughout the pandemic with fines increasing and even the potential for criminal proceedings to take place.  More pressure was placed on law firms to especially ensure during remote working that client due diligence processes continue to be compliant.”

New laws such as the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act have been introduced due to the global scale of money laundering.  The UK National Crime Agency estimates it costs the country more than £100bn every year. Technology can play a pivotal role in aiding the process of compliance and transaction monitoring, moving away from legacy data sets which can fragmented or not consistent.

Lynne continues: “There has been an industry-wide call for fighting fraud with artificial intelligence and that’s why we are urging our clients to take up our AML service which provides them with better quality data which is much easier to analyse and easier to govern.”