Case Study

Case Study: Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Published April 20, 2021

"Thirdfort was easy to implement and set up and has revolutionised how we verify the identity of our individual clients. It has been exceptionally useful during lockdown and for our overseas clients, as the process is secure, client-friendly and smooth."

When lockdown hit, a lack of technology solutions made onboarding clients slow and tedious

When the first lockdown and shielding restrictions were implemented back in March 2020, they inevitably presented difficulties in our prospective clients obtaining certified copies of supporting documents. Clients could not obtain certified copies using a professional or the post office service under these restrictions. Furthermore, most clients were understandably not willing to send their original documents to our offices for us to copy, for fear they would go astray. As an interim measure, we implemented a procedure where the fee-earner undertook a Zoom video call with the client who displayed their documents during the call. This measure attempted to use technology we had that was not designed for this purpose. The most significant concern was that hosting the Zoom session with the client, guiding them through the process of showing their documents, obtaining the screengrabs, saving these and sending them through to the Risk team was incredibly time-consuming. What’s more, the resulting screengrabs were frequently illegible, requiring multiple attempts involving the clients and fee-earners to spend more time redoing them again.

Thirdfort's automated onboarding enabled UK and overseas clients to complete checks at home

The adoption of Thirdfort for verifying ID for individual clients coincided with the pandemic and government restrictions as part of the lockdown. Providing our clients with the ability of completing this due diligence without having to leave their house was a significant factor. So too, was being able to complete verification for our overseas clients, which has always been problematic and time consuming. I would add that conversations with Thirdfort about their service, the implementation have always been very sensible. Thirdfort understand what lawyers need to achieve, the compliance they must work within and this helps.

At the time of implementing Thirdfort we had no ‘fee-earning’ international offices, but this service was made available to all of our UK offices and individual clients immediately. Now that we have a number of international offices, this service has been made available to them too.

The majority of our clients have responded positively to verifying their ID in this way. Some have concerns about providing details to a ‘third party’, and others struggle with the technology aspect. We have found that keeping the leading lawyer involved in the process, so that the client is able to raise any questions they have around Thirdfort with them helps a lot of these concerns.

Revolutionised ID and AML checks: significantly faster onboarding and happier clients

Thirdfort has significantly reduced client onboarding times, to the point where we can begin working properly on matters and become involved in any financial aspects in a timely manner. We also recognise that verifying client ID in this way is far more effective than relying on copy documents or party certification etc. It has also in a lot of cases improved the relationship with our clients, being able to view and copy supporting original documents (at our offices) or being provided certified copies can be stressful for clients to accomplish, this at the very start of our relationship with the client. Taking that stress away by using Thirdfort is a much better introduction to the firm. Thirdfort was easy to implement and set up and has revolutionised how we verify the identity of our individual clients. It has been exceptionally useful during lockdown and for our overseas clients, as the process is secure, client-friendly and smooth.

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