Why we carry out anti-money laundering checks during onboarding

Why we carry out anti-money laundering checks during onboarding

When you start working with Fearless Financials, we’ll perform anti-money laundering (AML) checks on your business. An AML check is an identity assessment to ensure the business owners and directors are who they claim to be. These checks are done using electoral and other online data and are completed in the background. This practice isn’t unique to Fearless, and we don’t do it out of being nosy or thinking you’re up to something suspicious!


The aim of the AML checks isn’t to catch you out, but to set high standards from the very start of working together

Performing these checks with all of our clients ensures every one of our clients is in turn kept safe as we adhere to all regulations. Every UK registered accountant needs to perform these checks, and it’s our due diligence as we set out to create a strong partnership based on trust. You can feel secure in knowing your accountant doing these checks means we’re legit and aren’t about cutting corners.


Carrying out these checks is a legal requirement

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 mean accountants must know their clients before they can act for them. All UK accountants have a legal obligation to keep anti-money laundering records, and failure to do so can mean penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

Fearless Financials is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). Under the UK Anti-Money Laundering regime, we’re legally required to perform customer due diligence on our clients. We work according to guidance from the ICAS on what checks are required. The current guidance, updated February 2021, requires us to do the following identity checks: 

“For corporate entities, trusts or charities, evidence should be obtained to confirm the existence of the entity. Key individuals, beneficial owners and officers’ identities are required to be verified.”

We’ve detailed the specific laws the checks comply with at the end of this blog*.


Your private data will remain protected at all times

When you start working with Fearless, we’ll contact all of your company’s key individuals to verify their identity. We use technology to carry out the checks and store this information, in order to be GDPR compliant. We’ll never request you send this information to us via email or hard copy. Your business’s financial details are some of the most private information about you, and it’s only right we respect that by making sure the proper systems are in place to protect this.


We use an identity checking service from a company called XAMA to manage this sensitive information. They then link this information to our internal practice management system called Pixie. Both of these companies are fully GDPR compliant. XAMA’s privacy policy can be found here, and Pixie’s privacy policy here. We pride ourselves on making sure your sensitive information is secured in an air-tight fashion. You deserve peace of mind knowing your data is fiercely protected.


AML checks are just one of the processes we pride ourselves on

We know AML checks might seem a bit out of the blue at first, but it’s reassurance that Fearless prides itself on rigorously adhering to UK regulations. We know how important your data is to you, and it’s important to us too, so rest assured your privacy is our priority. If you want to know more about the processes behind the Fearless way, check out our How We Work page.

*The relevant laws and regulations the AML checks comply with are:

  • The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) as amended by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA);
  • The Terrorism Act 2000 (TA 2000) (as amended by the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) and the Terrorism Act 2006 (TA 2006));
  • The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the 2017 Regulations);
  • Terrorist Asset-Freezing Act 2010;
  • Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001;
  • Counter-terrorism Act 2008, Schedule 7