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Name Screening

What is name screening?

Name screening is part of the KYC/CDD process, which is vital for preventing money laundering, payment fraud, terrorist financing and other financial crimes. It is often mentioned alongside transaction screening under the umbrella term of sanctions screening.

It refers to taking a given individual or organization’s name and comparing it against names that occur on various watchlists (sanctions lists, PEP lists, etc.) Conducting good watchlist management is vital to ensure that a bank is comfortable with the risk that they may be taking on when agreeing to work with a client.

The result of the search can influence the action that the financial institution takes going forward, depending on their risk level.

What occurs from name screening?

After conducting name screening, a financial institution ordinarily decides whether to do business with an organization or individual.

Most often, no match or a positive match will occur from the details given. However, financial institutions need to be aware of false positives (if someone has a similar name to a politically exposed person, for example) or false negatives (where a name may slip through the net inadvertently facilitating the criminal and leaving the bank vulnerable to regulatory fines).

It is also possible to screen names against any negative mentions in media reports. This is known as adverse media screening.

How do financial institutions conduct name screening?

Name screening requires the latest information available, which is why having a good watchlist management process in place is vital. Financial institutions ordinarily purchase screening software that contains the necessary information, which has been gathered from the publicly available government or agency lists.

Good name screening software will then clean, standardize, and sort the data, eliminating duplicates and ensuring that names are correctly formatted.

With the lists in place, name screening can then be conducted manually or with automation, which is more common for larger organizations that are continually needing to conduct name screening as customers and businesses wish to open new accounts, etc.

The actual act of name screening then follows a basic process:

  • Compare the names of individuals against the names in the various lists either manually or through automation, which requires advanced algorithms.
  • Assess the results and consider next steps. Finding a match with a name on a list doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has done something criminal, but it may flag that a bank requires further action to be taken. For example, a politically exposed person will have a higher risk level than someone who isn’t involved with politics.
  • Consider next steps based on the results. After assessing whether an alert is a true match or a false positive, take appropriate action. This may mean stopping an application process, freezing an account, or ending a business relationship. Alternatively, it may mean that enhanced due diligence (EDD) is required.

To ensure the most effective approach to detecting and preventing financial crime, it is important to conduct name screening alongside other customer due diligence processes.

What are the benefits of name screening?

Effective name screening ensures compliance with laws and regulations, prevents financial crime, and reduces risk for a financial institution. It also reduces the risk of any fines or legal liabilities.

A significant benefit of name screening software is its capability to handle vast volumes of data. Financial institutions often need to screen numerous customers, and an automated system is far more efficient than manual methods, saving time, resources, and money.

Modern name screening software also delivers accurate results by using algorithms to match names against the database, minimizing human error and using the most up-to-date information. This accuracy helps organizations identify high-risk individuals or entities, enabling them to take appropriate measures.

Why is name screening important?

Name screening is crucial for financial institutions and other regulated organizations to identify individuals or entities listed on government-sanctioned and PEP lists, thereby preventing financial crimes such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and bribery. Financial crime software automates the process of cross-referencing names against a sanctioned database, offering more precision and efficacy than manual screening methods.

Financial crime compliance software also ensures compliance with AML regulations, aiding organizations in demonstrating their commitment to preventing financial crimes and satisfying regulatory requirements, which is critical for maintaining reputation and financial stability.

SymphonyAI delivers market-leading name screening software

SymphonyAI is a market leader in name screening software, blending flexible list integration with advanced AI to surface genuine risk, reduce false positives and power real-time onboarding.

Available as part of NetReveal Sanctions Screening, which also includes transaction screening, it is possible to Customize powerful matching algorithms to exact needs, maximizing detection accuracy for any list type, situation or geography. Engineered to rapidly handle extreme volumes of data, SymphonyAI’s screening solutions effortlessly scale to match the needs of even the largest financial institutions.

Learn more about NetReveal Sanctions Screening.

Discover SensaAI for Sanctions

SymphonyAI also offers SensaAI for Sanctions. Augment your existing detection solutions to dramatically enhance matching capabilities with gen AI and predictive AI that analyzes and structures previously unstructured text and significantly reduces false positives. The result is a real-time AI upgrade for screening with a seamless, streamlined process.

Learn more about SensaAI for Sanctions.

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