HMRC have been applying a lot of pressure to the serviced office sector, due to an increase in fraudulent activity by businesses attempting to operate out of virtual offices. The market for the serviced office sector is today subject to regulatory approval – both from Money Laundering Regulations and locally from the London Local Authorities Act (2007). Lack of compliance can result in stiff penalties, including fines and imprisonment for company directors.
Serviced offices need to do complex checks on a variety of businesses when onboarding customers. They need to cross-check data on multiple entities, which can often be a manual, resource intensive and costly process. Added to this they are also required to then carefully monitor company directors and beneficial owners on a regular basis to ensure compliance with Money Laundering regulations.
Here at Contego, we worked very closely with industry as well as the trade associations to develop a customised solution to reduce fraud in the sector and streamline the customer onboarding. We developed a platform to enable the serviced office sector to manage the complexity of customer onboarding and monitoring, by checking people, companies and ID documents simultaneously, and combining results from multiple sources accurately, all delivered in real-time via a single API.
Contego’s platform streamlines the customer onboarding process, because data is only input once, and workflow forms involved in checking processes can be automatically populated. The engine simultaneously conducts all of the searches and delivers the results in real-time, in an instant. The process is fully automated, removing the need for manual checking and reducing human error.
As part of our ongoing monitoring solutions, Contego keep track and alerts clients when changes occur in beneficial ownership. We maintain a list of companies that have successfully passed a Contego check. When these companies submit their next annual return clients will automatically be notified of any changes to beneficial owners; an alert will be emailed directly to clients to track any changes.
As the number one provider of serviced offices, Regus turned to Contego rapidly and efficiently on-board new customers, whilst still conducting due diligence to ensure that fraud and compliance risks are mitigated. Contego is able to quickly identify risk factors before Regus commits to on-boarding clients, and improve operational efficiency.
Michelle Valentine, UK Operations Director of Regus, explains “We needed to implement a robust customer on-boarding solution that would be fast enough to meet customer demands but also secure enough to ensure that all compliance requirements were met or exceeded. By partnering with Contego, we have achieved peace-of-mind in performing routine checks when welcoming new customers.”
Contego’s flexible solution can be employed to mitigate risk and prevent fraud across markets and geographies, analysing multiple datasets in real-time. Compliance officers have an increasingly important role but now have a great deal of complex regulation to navigate. Forward thinking compliance officers are looking for enhanced tools to make better decisions, leaving them free to focus on exceptions handling, confident that all the data flowing into the decision making process is complete and robust.
If you are concerned about the threat of fraud and want to know what is available to ensure your compliance to regulations get in touch and we can answer all your questions. For more information, call us on: 01235 375 000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.