“We are living in an age where apps are used for the majority of things, so if clients can download Thirdfort and carry out their checks from the comfort of their living room, then this is a positive thing for us and them.”
Thirdfort caught up with Claire McLean, Operations Manager, and Karen Robson, Customer Admin Team Supervisor, to find out how they tackled due diligence checks on a UK-wide client base.
The challenge: efficient due diligence checks on clients based across the UK
PM Property Lawyers (PMPL) was faced with the challenge of verifying the addresses and identities of clients who lived nationwide and often not near to their Sheffield office. With property described as the ‘weak link’ in the UK’s money laundering defences, property lawyers are under strict regulatory obligations to verify every client’s identity before any legal work takes place. Prior to Thirdfort, PMPL’s onboarding team requested clients to send their identity documents and proofs of address via post. This was not only putting clients’ highly sensitive data at risk of being lost or stolen, but waiting for documents to arrive delayed the legal work from starting for at least a week and posting documents caused inconvenience to clients.
Karen Robson from PMPL’s Customer Admin Team said “One of the biggest complaints from clients was speed of the transaction. If we were being seen to delay things from the outset, that was an area of dissatisfaction for the client”. This challenge fed into PMPL’s mission to provide efficient conveyancing services to clients based across the UK, while ensuring that all due diligence checks conducted met the legal and regulatory requirements.
The solution: digital identity checks using an app
With no integrations into existing systems required, PMPL started using Thirdfort immediately. The ability for clients to verify their identity and upload a proof of address through an app ensured that PMPL met its strict KYC and AML regulatory requirements without needing clients to post their documents and slow down the onboarding process. Thirdfort’s use of best in class technology removed the need for PMPL to handle clients’ original documents while enabling them to quickly and easily perform address checks, PEPs and sanctions screening, and verify their identity all via an app and from the comfort of their home.
The results: file opening in one day
Using Thirdfort has removed the need entirely for PMPL’s clients to post identity documents and proofs of address to their office. Able to be performed remotely, PMPL have noticed a significant speeding up of client due diligence. With immediate access to documents as soon as they are uploaded by the client, and with clients taking on average seven minutes to complete their checks, PMPL’s turnaround time for completing onboarding administration has reduced from an average of one week to one day. Thirdfort has made it possible for PMPL to realise its own vision to provide efficient conveyancing to all across the UK.