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Knowing who you are dealing with is very important in business and in personal life. A due diligence process will basically look at who an organisation or person is negotiating or doing business with. It is a process that aims to make sure that whatever investment one party makes in the other will make returns as stated or expected. Often it is seen as a cumbersome process, but experts suggest that it is a worthwhile initiative that will profit all parties involved. It will enable the verification of information in terms of its accuracy and also identify any undisclosed problematic issues.
There is potentially great risk in the business undertaken by financial institutions and banks. Therefore knowing your customer or in other words KYC Hong Kong is considered fundamental and makes basic business sense. It is of paramount importance to conduct this to eliminate any financial risk that may face the organisation. This term is also widely used in financial regulations such as anti- bribery, money laundering and anti- corruption regulations. Understanding a client is not only vital for the financial industry, but many companies, big and small now carry out due diligence with their suppliers, agents and distributors alike.

Though “being aware of risk” has been around from the era of the Romans, its first inclusion as a law came to be in the formation of the US Security act in 1933. They are credited with the creation of the term due diligence and strengthening the law since then. The assessment practices though carried out around the world, tend to vary. Depending on the risk level the assessments carried out therefore also vary.

Simplified assessment: this is carried out in situations where there is minimum risk of money laundering or funding for terrorism to take place. Another instance is when the value of the accounts is not at a higher level. Low value accounts run little risk of being used for illegal activities, therefore these kind of accounts are mostly exempted from strict due diligence, and would mostly include pulling a Hong Kong credit report.

Standard assessment: this form of client assessment takes place when there is potential risk but there are very little chances of it being materialised. Therefore this form of due diligence is the most commonly used. It requires that you periodically gather information about the customer or client and monitor their activities in order to make sure that your services or products are not used in any illegal manner.

Enhanced assessment: this form of assessment is carried out when there is a higher level of risk. And this usually occurs when there are larger transaction amounts in question, increased risk of money laundering and terrorism funding. Enhanced due diligence can take many forms. Sometimes there will be additional information gathered on the customer such as identity verification, source of income and credit histrory etc.

Therefore, this form of assessment is becoming increasingly important for financial institutions and other organisations both large and small. It is evident that such assessment allows the level of financial risk involved in business to be minimised to a certain extent.

Aristoteles Pineda

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