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Published 23 February 2021
International law firm DAC Beachcroft is automating the identification and verification part of its new client acceptance process through the use of an app, which is currently being piloted across the firm’s eight offices in England and Wales.
Instead of requiring new clients to provide certified proof of identity and address and then carrying out time-consuming verification processes to confirm that identity, DACB will give clients the option to go through an automated process. Using an app, clients will quickly and easily be able to upload the necessary documents, with verification and fraud checks then carried out by FCA-regulated security technology supplier Thirdfort. “The client due diligence process can be time consuming for everyone involved,” said DACB’s Managing Partner David Pollitt. “Through automation, we can save our clients the time and effort it takes to come into our offices to get their ID certified or to visit another qualified professional, who will likely charge a fee for the service. This technological innovation will save our clients time and money and enable us to start work for them even faster.”
Thirdfort uses document scanning and facial recognition technology to streamline the essential checks usually carried out by DACB’s lawyers. Through the app clients are asked to take a photo of their ID along with a selfie and a video. Thirdfort matches the client to the ID and verifies its authenticity. Clients can then easily upload additional documents such as proof of address, which are again checked for authenticity. Once the verification process is complete, a comprehensive summary of the evidence and an audit trail of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance is provided.
“We are continually striving to find digital solutions to improve client experience and are acutely aware that our ways of working will be forever changed post-pandemic,” said Andrew Keith, DACB’s Chief Operations Officer. “We, along with our clients, are likely to be less office-based in the future, so relying on face-to-face meetings in the office to obtain and certify ID will become increasingly inconvenient. With this new technology, our clients have more flexibility and choice when it comes to engaging with us.”
Following the conclusion of its pilot in England and Wales, DACB intends to roll out the new automated identification and verification process to its offices across the remainder of the UK and internationally.