SMQ Legal LLP is an Oxfordshire-based law firm that offers a wide range of legal services to clients. As with most law firms, they would like to increase their client base and be able to serve clients further than their physical location. To help with this, SMQ Legal LLP needed a digital client onboarding solution that could streamline their onboarding processes but also strengthen compliance and AML efforts.
“The amazing about Verify 365 is that now we confidently take clients who live further than our surrounding office locations, we now even take on international clients!”
“It’s incredibly easy to use and takes on average a few minutes to get the ID verification complete.”
The growing law firm also recently set up Conveyancing Department and understood the risks involved with high-value transactions. With many staff working hybrid in-person checks was an unnecessary risk for all.
By using Verify 365, SMQ Legal cut client onboarding times, took on more clients, and increased their revenue while staying compliant.
Validation is not the same as verification
Before using Verify 365, SMQ Legal would either collect documents from their clients manually which involved clients’ visits to the firms’ offices, or documents were sent in by email or post, adding significant time to the onboarding process. The team would then use a legacy system to check the validity of the documents to ensure they were genuine ID documents. This meant that whilst they were checking the validity of an ID document there was no process to actually match that document alongside the clients face.
Quick, secure and qualified ID checks with Verify 365
“Using Verify 365 for our client onboarding has been phenomenal, we are now onboarding clients quicker than ever before. The best thing is that we can now confidently take on clients from anywhere in the world! We simply send them a link from the portal and wait for the report to be generated, whereas previously there was always an element of risk and uncertainty.”
Since using Verify 365, SMQ Legal LLP has cut the time needed to onboard new and existing clients from an average time of 1 week to 4 hours.
Compliance is no longer a constant worry for our team
“This challenge still exists because we know tactics for money laundering and other financial crimes committed by criminals constantly evolve and are more advanced now than ever before. But Verify 365 removes the issue of having to make an uninformed decision. We let the technology give us the insight that isn’t possible just by looking at a document. So it reduces the risk of losing a client, and possible revenue because if they are verified using Verify 365 we are confident that is possible to work with them.
The firm can now take on new clients, onboarding them quickly, securely, and, compliantly.
“One of the key reinforcing factors for us was that it met the ‘digital ID standard set out by the HM Land Registry called ‘Safe Harbour’, this spoke volumes about the level of due diligence that was been carried out.”
Get in touch, if you think your law firm client onboarding could be faster, more secure, and help win new clients.
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.
Starck Uberoi, established in 2014, sets the highest standards of ethics, professional conduct, client care, and advice, whilst prioritising their client’s objectives, budget, and expectations. The firm does not compromise on values, and has long-lasting relationships with its clients built on trust. The property department and other practice areas, disputes, family, landlord matters, and corporate-related transactions were looking for a solution that could streamline the client onboarding process with compliance at the forefront. The firm’s previous onboarding solution could not confirm they were compliant and this led to Starck Uberoi looking for a new solution.
“We changed to Verify 365 from our previous provider for a number of reasons. The first was that our old system was clunky and difficult for our clients to verify themselves which meant a lot of the time we bypassed it. The second reason was that our old system was web-based and we realised that the verification process wasn’t very effective. Whereas Verify 365 is app-based and utilises technology like facial recognition to ensure the client is genuine.
The third, and important reason, is because Verify 365 is compliant with both the Land Registry and Law Society ensuring my team is up to date with compliance rules and even goes beyond what is required”.
After starting to use Verify 365, they significantly cut their client onboarding times and gave the firm scope to expand its services internationally.
- With Verify 365, clients can now be verified remotely. No paperwork. No unnecessary office visits.
- Meet the Safe Harbour ‘digital ID’ standard set by HM Land Registry.
- Free up more time to deal with legal matters instead of administrative tasks.
Working closely with the Starck Uberoi team, Verify 365 was able to understand how the practice functioned and operated ensuring that we could deploy our system in such a way that it fits the firm’s needs. Having visited the site and spoken to members of the Starck Uberoi team, Verify 365 was able to deploy our AML & ID verification platform while minimising any intrusion and smoothly moving the practice away from
Verify 365 AML and ID checks are Safe Harbour compliant
The recently implemented, Safe Harbour ‘digital ID’ standard’, the ID checks require a biometric NFC verification on the client and ID document. Verify 365 will request use of a Passport as evidence of ID. To make sure the client’s passport will be checked ‘cryptographically’ to determine whether the client’s face match its ‘data’, this will check that the security features of the evidence are genuine, the NFC chip will also check that a ‘signing key’ belongs to whoever issued the ID, and that it hasn’t been tampered with.
“These technologies give us the peace of mind that we are doing everything we should be doing when dealing with property transactions. We’re happy that we meet the highest levels of due diligence as a law firm. It’s best practice and sets a good standard for newly qualified staff. The HM Land Registry will not pursue any conveyancer in any recourse claim resulting from the registration of a fraudulent transaction on the grounds that identity checks were inadequate, so there’s practical and commercial benefits too”
More time for lawyers and clients
By using Verify 365, Starck Uberoi noticed more time to deal with legal matters that meant quicker turnaround for clients. They no longer take care of the hassle of onboarding customers themselves, manually. The report which provides verification information and results for lawyers will give them everything they need to make a decision on the clients risk profile.
If you’re interested in transforming your onboarding journey, get in touch to discuss how Verify 365 can help.
Optimus Law is an innovative law firm with expertise and specialisms in UK Immigration law and provides UK Immigration services to both individuals and businesses on their often, complex legal matters. The nationwide practice prides itself on providing legal services in an efficient and effective manner. They aim to simplify the process and automate as much of the onboarding to minimize the administrative tasks for their fee earners and maintain a digital, forward-thinking outlook. Optimus Law was looking for more than an ID verification solution and wanted to use a comprehensive platform that would allow them to take online payments, send and sign documents for electronic signatures and verify the source of funds.
Accurately verify international clients’ identity
Finding a secure way of verifying clients was a challenge for the law firm. They used to do manual verifications which means sending ID documents by email, leaving the client and firm open to unnecessary risk. It also meant getting through the onboarding for each client was taking way longer than required. After starting to use Verify 365, Optimus Law was able to check the identity of individuals and businesses with biometric ID checks, removing the friction and manual processing of ID, address, and source of funds:
- With Verify 365, Optimus Law can now check the ID of over 10,000 documents in over 195 countries.
- Check global PEPs & Sanctions lists on individuals and business owners.
- Clients can complete the onboarding directly in the app, and no longer have to request sensitive information by email.
Faster, digital payments with a bespoke website portal
Often clients would request for bank transfer or online payments that the firm could not offer quick With an integrated payment portal on Verify 365 and a bespoke website portal on the Optimus Law website, clients are able to now pay fees on account directly to the law firm.
- Clients can use credit or debit cards to make payments seamlessly.
- Removed the friction from requesting for payments
- Secure, paperless method which increases the firms compliance and clients trust
- Quicker payments that increased the firms cashflow by up to 60%.
Seymour Solicitors are the longest-standing law firm in Coventry and Warwickshire, having served the county and surrounding areas since 1730. A firm of integrity, and friendly solicitors that provide their clients with a modern, personal service tailored specifically to their needs. The firm recognised during the pandemic, a real need to have an onboarding solution that wasn’t so reliant on paperwork or manual processes. The legal and commercial experience within the firm meant they quickly anticipated that things were changing and they needed to adapt. One of the key features of Verify 365 that Seymours was particularly interested in learning more about was Open Banking digital bank statements.
Due diligence, time-consuming manual processes, and client relationships
The challenge for Seymours was receiving copies of original bank statements from clients. As a Conveyancing legal practice, verifying the client’s financial data is required when representing buyers and previously, this was provided by clients who had to either pay for the bank to send them out or print the statements themselves. The clients would then need to travel to the office or send them by email. Seymours acknowledged this was taking a lot of the fee earner time and often required chasing the clients to complete this.
From a compliance perspective, they realized the authenticity of the documents was often uncertain. Simply put, how could they be sure the statement copies provided were genuine? Finding the balance of carrying out the required due diligence, time-consuming manual processes, and maintaining a good client relationship meant they needed to find a new way of onboarding.
Digital client onboarding solution for competitive advantage
Seymours Solicitors partnered with Verify 365 to streamline the AML and client onboarding journey. They wanted to be able to instantly retrieve the financial information from the client alongside the ID and address check. With remote working and social distancing, they saw this as the perfect opportunity to maintain a competitive advantage.
Open Banking to reduce fraud and provide faster financial insight
“We were excited to try out the new system and see how much faster it could carry out the AML checks. Previously, it took around 2 weeks to complete the onboarding process which included ID checks, source of funds, and getting the three months bank statements. We noticed the time to complete these tasks reduced dramatically using Verify 365. We particularly liked how the system gave clients the option to do this at their convenience, so they could do this in the evening or on weekends and this led to quicker onboarding and better client experiences”.
Implementing Verify 365 means that Seymours Solicitors is able to build a streamlined process for establishing trust with their clients from the outset of the transaction and protect their law firm, and stay compliant without compromising great client service.
If you would like a faster way to complete AML and ID checks. Get in touch for a demo and free trial on Open Banking digital statements. Get in touch at info@verify365,co,uk or book a demo here
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