Everything You Need to Know About List Screening

05/19/23 4 minute read

What is list screening and why is it important?

List screening is the process of vetting entities against various watchlists to identify and prevent financial crimes such as money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, or other illicit activities. 

Watchlists are created and maintained by governments, international organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other regulatory bodies. The individuals and entities put on watchlists are usually considered high-risk due to their involvement or association with criminal activities. These can include politically exposed persons (PEPs), sanctioned entities, terrorism risks, links to forced labor, individuals involved in the proliferation of weapons, and more. 

>> Learn how to run efficient sanctions compliance programs << 

The industries that commonly need to employ global watchlist searches include finance, healthcare, agriculture, and others that are vulnerable to financial crimes and face regulatory actions. 

Watchlist screening is an essential part of an anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) compliance programs.

Global watchlists and sanction list screening are important to global economic stability and security. Watchlist screening prevents criminal and terrorist assets from entering legitimate industries. The successful completion of watchlist screening is important for businesses for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Helping institutions comply with all official regulations and watchlists
  • Reducing the risk of noncompliance and any negative consequences or associated fines
  • Making customer onboarding fast and efficient by reducing manual work 
  • Protecting a company’s reputation from an association with any financial crime or illicit actors 

>> Everything you need to know about know your customer (KYC) investigations <<

How can I run efficient watchlist investigations?

It would be impossible to remain in compliance with the array of watchlists if you didn’t have all of the information on associated business partners and customers. Carefully cross checking customers and counterparties against the the lists upon lists of regulations is just the first step to mitigating the associated legal, commercial, and reputational risks of not complying with list screening.

Automation will be key to effective global watch list screening. For instance, Sayari Graph leverages global public records and graph technology to map complex, cross-border corporate networks, thus providing a clear picture of illicit financial actors, their infrastructure, and relationships. This comprehensive view provides investigators with broader context surrounding their customers and counterparties. Users can import customer lists in bulk to speed up onboarding, or use the platform to dig deep into individual cases. 

>> Enhance your supply chain audit by leveraging Chinese public records <<

The data within Sayari Graph is updated regularly to ensure that you’re always working with the most current information. The platform’s Risk Factors feature can also visually flag any known watchlisted entity throughout an investigation. In complex webs of corporate networks, visual risk flags allow investigators to instantly see potential violations across a network. 

Speed up your customer onboarding and list screening with Sayari Graph. See the impact for yourself with a personalized demo of Sayari Graph. For inspiration, watch one of our in-house analysts perform an example investigation in this Master Class on tracking assets of Russian oligarchs

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