WYM Legal, a Hertfordshire-based law firm specialising in conveyancing was using a legacy system that didn’t offer verification of the client, only checking the validity of documents. The existing AML system required the clients to send ID documents to the legal practice and then a manual process that consisted of admin staff typing the relevant information into the system was required.  Validation checks usually took a few working days to confirm basic information about the client meaning long, cumbersome, and time-intensive challenges for the law firm. The current system was not compliant with Land Registry enhanced due diligence which required a biometric NFC-based check.

As a well-established firm, WYM Legal already had in place a  process for AML and ID verification purposes, however, after auditing the firm’s current procedures, we identified three key challenges.

Client onboarding was a slow, manual process and needed to be faster and automated

A faster, more streamlined way to identify the client was needed as verifying clients could take days or weeks as identity documents such as passports, bank statements, utility bills and source of funds proof had to be collected, prepared, and sent in by email or post. To rely on the client’s availability and to send their information and manually verify the identity was not in the best interests of the law firm or the client.

A cumbersome approach that did not ‘verify’ the client’s ID

Though they had an electronic system that was linked to the firm’s CMS, it was cumbersome because client data had to be added manually entered into the system. No biometric check, no liveness test, no data extraction, or anti-spoof methods were carried out on the ID check. The firm relied on manual verification of the ID which was increasingly difficult due to remote working and social distancing.  So, whilst the process was compliant, it was a high risk for the firm which had the possibility of leading to identity fraud.

Removing unnecessary stress from the conveyancing process

Conveyancing is one of the more stressful areas of practice due to tight deadlines, client demands, the risk of money laundering, and strict compliance regulations. Therefore, removing the unnecessary stress was a key challenge for the WYM Legal team.

“Using a streamlined onboarding process meant more time and focus could be spent on progressing property matters and generating revenue, these challenges faced by the WYM Legal team could easily be overcome by implementing a digital client onboarding solution into practice”.

After working closely with the WYM Legal, Verify 365 were able to deploy a complete client on-boarding system which made the AML process quicker and less cumbersome allowing both the admin team and the fee earners to get on with more important tasks. In one workflow, clients were asked to complete a biometric ID check where the document was scanned by a smartphone, followed by a ‘selfie’ of the client. This would then be cryptographically verified using our AI powered ID verification system, analysing key aspects of the clients facial features and the image stored in the NFC chip on the ID document. The verification results are then formulated in an AML report in under 10 seconds.

“This led to an immediate decrease in client turnaround time between asking a client to verify themselves and being verified, and we were able to use this for our international clients which was fantastic for our firm”.

Using an automated system meant that from sending a verification to receiving the verification report is just a few clicks.

A more compliant system aligning them with the Land Registry’s Digital ID Standard (Safe Harbour).

Verify 365 offers law firms the ability to meet the Safe Harbour ‘digital ID” standard, making the process as simple and streamlined as it can be, but also focusing on meeting the very highest standards of compliance quickly and easily.

” This is a perfect example of how this technology can future proofs our firm against high risk clients and identity crime. It meets all the necessary regulations, guidance and legislation around AML.”

To find out more about Safe Harbour or to book a Verify 365 demo, please click here.