The business community faces various risks, with money laundering key among them and one of the most widely recognised. In the past, regulatory authorities primarily targeted financial institutions, but today, almost all types of businesses are subject to scrutiny.

South Africa’s greylisting status by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has increased the need for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance across businesses and sectors in South Africa. Being on the FATF grey list means that South Africa’s AML/CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) regime does not meet the international standards set by the FATF. All accountable institutions, whether in the financial sector or non-financial sector, must now comply with these standards to improve the status quo.

While crypto asset service providers may be among the newer accountable institutions with more onerous compliance requirements in the financial sector, the ‘Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs)’ glossary as per the FATF covers a variety of professions and businesses from casinos to real estate agents to dealers in precious stones and metals to lawyers, advocates with trust accounts, notaries, legal professionals, motor dealers, racehorse dealers, and businesses operating with artificial intelligence, those dealing in high-value goods of R100 000 or more such as yachts, boats, art, antiques, furniture, electronics and more.

“These businesses are required to implement more robust AML/CFT measures to comply with the FATF recommendations. AML provision is no longer just a nice to have,” says James George, Compliance Manager at Compli-Serve SA.

“This includes enhanced customer due diligence through conducting more thorough assessments of customers, along with ongoing training and awareness, and monitoring for suspicious activities. Businesses must report these to the relevant authorities promptly and failure to comply with the AML/CFT regulations can result in hefty fines, imprisonment, reputational risk, and other legal repercussions.”

Keeping up with the times

A dedicated resource to protect against money laundering risks makes it easier for businesses to keep up with compliance and prevents money laundering activities from taking it place.

Compli-Serve SA has just launched AML Protect to provide this assistance. “Our solution has several packages that address the many challenges facing accountable institutions by quickly establishing a tailored programme that complies with provisions and legislation,” says George.

AML Protect screens financial transactions to mitigate the risk of fines and legal penalties against non-compliance with AML regulations. It protects the reputation of a business by ensuring that it is not associated with money laundering activities by vetting customers against global sanction lists, politically exposed persons (PEP) lists, and adverse media databases to identify high-risk individuals and entities. Transaction screening is aligned with regulatory provisions as outlined in The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.

“Additionally, we track worldwide regulatory trends on an ongoing basis, as these are constantly evolving. AML compliance is crucial and evolves as the risks evolve. We offer a news service on relevant updates,” says George.

It can be a challenge to keep ongoing monitoring in place to detect suspicious activities and transactions. Outsourcing AML screening to a third-party provider streamlines the compliance process and saves time and resources. It enhances any business’ due diligence and customer screening procedures to avoid conducting business with high-risk individuals or entities.

“This not only makes good business sense but is also a regulatory requirement, as South Africa strives towards a safer environment for all digital financial transactions,” George concludes.

For more information on Compli-Serve SA’s AML Protect Service contact