FICA law in the spotlight after property sales to politically exposed nationals

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A probe into property sales by one of SA’s biggest estate agents highlights the importance of conducting thorough KYC processes in line with FICA legislation.

For businesses that deal with the provision of financial services in any form, the importance of adhering to the financial laws that govern processes cannot be emphasised enough, with repercussions for non-compliance ranging from huge financial loss, to irreversible reputational damage.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, (FICA) which aims to combat financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities, came under the spotlight this week, after one of South Africa’s established real estate players, Pam Golding Properties, allegedly enabled money laundering by facilitating the sale of properties to politically exposed Mozambique nationals.

According to fin24, Pam Golding Properties is being probed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) in a case involving the sale of two properties worth R50 million to the family of former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza, in a transaction which is apparently raised suspicions of money laundering.

“It is alleged that the company may have contravened financial law by not following the legal requirements in the process of selling the properties in Dainfern and Kyalami Estate to the family.”

In what has been described by the EAAB as a “first of its kind”, the investigation will examine whether Pam Golding Properties violated the conditions of FICA, including whether the agency can be identified as an accomplice to money laundering.

While non-compliance to FICA laws specifically comes with its own hefty consequences of 15 years’ maximum imprisonment or a fine of up to R10 million, failure to comply with AML laws and regulations and breaches of financial sanctions can have further dire consequences, on top of punitive fines and criminal charges – such as damaged reputations and sanctioning.

What is FICA?

A pinnacle of South African law when it comes to fighting financial crime, FICA came into effect in 2003 after being introduced two years prior, with the aim of combatting financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities.

More recently, in May 2017, even tighter regulation was introduced with the FIC Amendment Act. Essentially, FICA makes sure that institutions know exactly who they are doing business with – i.e. Know Your Customer, or KYC.

KYC legislation has been introduced in most major financial centres across the globe. Such legislation is driven by recommendations and standards set by the Financial Action Task Force. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

pbVerify & SigniFlow have combined their world-renowned technologies and software to create a fully digital, end-to-end FICA system that enables accountable institutions to carry out fully compliant KYC and onboarding processes, seamlessly and digitally – KYCFactory.

Incorporated in our solution, is pbVerify’s Sanctions, PEP and PIP (Politically Exposed and Influential Persons) reporting tool, which enables businesses to manually screen prospective clients and perform enhanced due diligence on anyone, from any country.

Read the latest on our ground-breaking digital KYC & compliance factory, KYCFactory, HERE.

[REFERENCES]  

  1. IOL – Pam Golding is under intense scrutiny
  2. Fin24.com – Pam Golding in hot water over sale of houses to ex-Mozambican president’s family
  3. Fic.gov.za – Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Legislation
  4. Eaab.org.za – Estate Agency Affairs Board
  5. Treasury – The FICA ACT
  6. pbVerify – Introducing the first fully digital end-to-end FICA system
  7. SigniFlow – KYCFactory enables paperless compliance processes

KYCFactory enables paperless compliance processes

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Compliance is a vital – but very taxing – concern for financial institutions. Kick compliance hurdles to the curb with our fully digital KYC system for accountable institutions.

Compliance, a reality faced by all financial institutions today, has long been approached with great trepidation, due to the time-consuming and costly processes it entails.

Not anymore.

Thanks to ground-breaking software by pbVerify and SigniFlow, two of PBSA’s digital arms, one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to the onboarding of new consumers – compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, (FICA) and the processes it requires – is now easy, seamless and totally digital.

Introduced at the end of 2019, KYCFactory is a revolutionary new FICA product offering accountable institutions a fast and easy means of ticking all the compliance boxes when building customer-facing onboarding systems.

With KYCFactory, paperwork piles, painstakingly collecting mandatory documents and making your customers run around to get all their personal information papers together, are all a thing of the past. KYCFactory requires absolutely no supporting documents, irrespective of whether a business is onboarding a consumer or a business.

Compliance arsenal

Incorporating three comprehensive compliance components, KYCFactory is the only system accountable institutions need to meet the stringent legal requirements of FICA.   

Digital KYC:

FICA requires all accountable institutions to comprehensively and conclusively verify the identity of clients. This is achieved via KYC – or know your customer – whereby a business verifies the identity of its clients and assesses the potential risks of illegal intentions, such as money laundering. Ultimately, it protects against institutions’ services being misused.

pbVerify and SigniFlow’s Digital KYC software delivers a compliant, automated and fully digitised KYC system that caters for both juristic and natural persons, in a manner that is aligned with any RMCP (Risk Management & Compliance Programme), and that can integrate with any rules engine, enterprise services bus (ESB) or workflow engine to trigger events.

KYCFactory can be triggered from any website or forms-based front-end, ESB, rules engine or workflow engine that can communicate via web services. Triggers are sent via the SigniFlow Event Handler to the KYCFactory platform, which then either follows a built-in configuration of events (“IF-THEN” rules for pass and fail events), or every event is communicated back to the origination platform via the SigniFlow Event Handler, enabling it to query its own rules and sequences in order to trigger further events individually, as  micro-components.

The KYCFactory software is delivered in two main process components, defined as Identity Kits (IDK), namely Business IDK and Consumer IDK.

Consumer verification also includes a slick new online 3D liveness test that biometrically matches the person to their national identity document photo, identity data, and alive-deceased data while retrieving their address from over 100 trustworthy SACRRA sources.

Finally, SigniFlow’s digital signature and workflow automation software enables institutions to workflow the KYC process, including all mandatory information, to multiple people who may need to sign a declaration in observance of law.

World Compliance™:

Secondly, KYCFactory incorporates pbVerify’s new Sanctions, PEP and PIP (Politically Exposed and Influential Persons) reporting tool, which enables businesses to manually screen prospective clients and perform enhanced due diligence on anyone, from any country.

This service instantly reports on over 2.5 million detailed PEP profiles and detects individuals, organisations and vessels linked to more than 50 risk categories, including Sanctions, Foreign Officials, and State-Owned Enterprises.

The second part of our Sanctions screening service relates specifically to sanctions and embargoes – i.e. political trade restrictions put in place against target countries to maintain or restore international peace and security. KYCFactory automates reporting on business with individuals who pose a threat and are listed on OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control) Mission.

Intelligent Digital Onboarding:

Our World-class digital Onboarding that is verified and free of errors.

Agreements and credit applications for credit require a considerable amount of information to be captured, which is not only time- and effort-consuming, but also prone to errors.

pbVerify Intelli-forms eradicate errors and increase process efficiencies by automatically populating forms from limited information entered.

For example, a new client needs only enteir their ID number and business registration number, and our form will do the rest.

That person’s identity information will be verified against Government source data and the form will be automatically populated. The business registration number will be verified against CIPC and all company, director and auditor information will be automatically populated – in real-time, verified and free of errors.

KYCFactory is available via API & integrates seamlessly with business systems, according to individual KYC and compliance management methods and policies.

Go to our YouTube channel to witness this ground-breaking digital compliance software in action.

To find out more, give us a call on +27 (0)10 300 4898 or email support@pbverify.co.za.

pbVerify is a registered Credit Bureau in terms of section 43 of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. Its data-systems, data-security and data-processing protocols are audited annually in accordance with the NCA. pbVerify follows strict ISO9001:2015 quality management processes that are audited and internationally certified by TUV Rheinland Germany. pbVerify engineers are certified in ISO27001 IT Security Management.