Seven key considerations when selecting a due diligence provider for corporate entities


Harriet Holmes

AML Services Manager

Woman on macbook looking at Thirdfort

When selecting a due diligence provider for corporate entities, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Due diligence on your corporate clients can never be fully automated. The process involves more than merely automating data collection - it's about facilitating your team to focus on more high-risk and potentially complex cases, setting them up to succeed, thus enhancing efficiency and job satisfaction. 

In a landscape populated by diverse providers, each offering a myriad of services, making the right choice can seem daunting. The following seven points aim to guide your decision-making process, touching on aspects such as information accuracy, global reach, depth of information, ongoing monitoring, usability, customer service, and individual identification and verification. Ultimately, the goal is to choose a provider that not only meets basic requirements but also offers a comprehensive, user-friendly service specifically tailored to your business needs. We hope this list aids in making your decision and navigating through your journey.

  1. Accuracy of information
    It’s dangerous for your organisation to use a tool where you cannot rely on the accuracy of the information provided. With corporate entities, this can be particularly tricky because commercial registers can become out of date quite quickly. When selecting a provider you should look for one that uses a range of sources to build a complete picture of your client’s organisation and its activities.

  2. Global reach
    Having a provider that can only provide information for certain jurisdictions may be suitable for your firm if you deal with very few international businesses. However, there are two further points to consider with this. Firstly, it isn’t best practice to run two separate processes for dealing with UK businesses and international firms. This is how things get missed. Secondly, whilst the corporate entity you are dealing with may be registered in the UK or the EU, other entities in the ownership structure may be based in less accessible jurisdictions. Using a provider that only deals with a limited number of jurisdictions is likely to result in your team hitting blockers when assessing ownership structures. It can be incredibly frustrating if the technology provider only goes so far before leaving you needing to visit multiple jurisdictions commercial registers yourself, along with all the challenges that brings.

  3. Depth of information
    Consider making a list of the questions you are looking to answer as part of your firm-wide risk assessment and look to understand from the technology provider which pieces of information can be provided by them to help answer those questions. For example, does the provider screen the corporate entity for sanctions and adverse media? Will they provide information on owners and directors? How about information that might help you understand the nature of your client’s business, such as SIC numbers, business activities and company website? The greater the depth of information, the fewer delays you will face when onboarding corporate clients.

  4. Ongoing monitoring
    Monitoring corporate clients for changes is imperative in order to maintain compliance. This is an area where a technology provider should be able to help you, by sending an automated notification based on trigger events that are being continually monitored. The level of monitoring is vital to ensure the integrity and validity of the information. This involves regularly checking and updating records to make certain that the data held is not only current but also accurate. This is a critical task because outdated or inaccurate information can have a significant impact on decision-making processes and the overall effectiveness of our operations.

  5. Usability
    Given the often-complicated nature of this process, an efficient provider should offer a user-friendly platform that demystifies the process. The platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate, with information presented in a clear, easily digestible format that can be understood by whoever is viewing the file. Try sharing demo reports with a few stakeholders in your firm who will be tasked with regularly analysing them. Their feedback can help you decide how easily the reports can be interpreted.

  6. Outstanding customer service
    How quickly will the provider respond to questions or requests for support? Are they available to help train staff on how to use the tool? It’s great if the technology can save you time, enabling your team to become more efficient, but if you spend days waiting for a response from your providers’ support team you are unlikely to realise most of these efficiency gains. This will leave your team sceptical about how much the technology is really helping. Ask questions about response times to support queries. It may be worth asking to speak to another client to get an unfiltered view. Choose a supplier who values your business, is open to feedback, listens carefully, and is willing to make improvements.

  7. Individual identification and verification
    Technology can undoubtedly save you time. But using multiple systems can present its own challenges. Once you have identified owners and directors you will need to identify and verify these individuals. Look for a provider who can combine the checks you need to carry out on corporate clients with those that will be needed on individuals. This will make the process smoother and reduce the number of platforms you need to login and out of.This helps create a robust system that ensures all clients, individuals and corporate entities, are verified before you undertake any transactional work, thereby enhancing the overall mitigation of risk. 

In conclusion, an exceptional provider is not merely about fulfilling the basic requirements. Rather, it's about offering a comprehensive, intuitive service that sets your team up for success by meeting the needs of your business. Enabling them to spend less time on data gathering and more space to focus on the risk based approach.

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