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How to pick the best EIDV software for law firms

In this blog, we cover what law firms need to know when comparing EIDV solutions on the market. We discuss what the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) wants law firms to look out for when selecting EIDV software, and we highlight the importance of selecting the right compliance tools.

In 2020, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) advised that they would be much stricter on law firms not meeting their anti-money laundering requirements. Just this month, the SRA has fined 13 firms for breaching their AML regulations. Naturally, an uptick in fines has caused other firms to take notice of their own regulatory processes and many are now considering electronic verification technology to help their teams with CDD. Choosing the right compliance tool for your firm is difficult when there's so much choice on the market, compounded by the fact that you often get locked into long-term contracts and onboarding takes ages. And when it comes to eIDV, you need to know and understand, the tool and its mechanisms.

What is an EIDV tool and why should law firms implement them?

The SRA categorises an EIDV (Electronic Identity Verification) tool as an ‘electronic means to help legal practices verify an individual’s identity’. EIDV reduces fraud risk and is a much more robust process than traditional paper procedures and will allow for smoother, quicker KYC checks, with the added security of verifying data at the source. Introducing a compliance tool that allows for digital KYC has multiple benefits for your firm, including efficient onboarding for new clients, reduction in administrative work required by fee earners and a consistent, firm-wide approach. Not only is digital verification more convenient, it is fundamentally more secure. A lawyer cannot tell by looking at a document that is genuine, and not just a really good fake. An EID&V tool can.

What is the SRA guidance on EIDV technology?

The SRA has been clear on its criteria for what enables an EID&V tool to be successful. Its requirements have steered the development of Mirror, ensuring we meet all SRA guidelines.

The most critical first step is to ensure your tool of choice meets the obligations of R28.

The regulation states that firms using electronic means of verification for their CDD must ensure that information must be obtained from an ‘independent, reliable source’, and encourage the use of tools where multiple data sources are used.

We have built a tool that does just that, verifying your client's identity and address to a near-foolproof degree of security. We do this in three ways: we combine NFC-enabled biometric chip scans with document scans and a liveness check, we verify data at source and establish the origin and genuineness of electronic Proof of Address documents.

The SRA also encourages any firms using technology for their CDD to “remain alert to (and account for) the fact that some electronic verification sources rely solely on publicly recorded and unchecked information.”

Here at Mirror, we encourage industry-standard AML screening for Politically Exposed Persons, including sanctions checks and adverse media, but we discourage reliance on third-party searches for the purpose of address verification. By just checking a customer's credit file for an address association does not actually prove they live at the provided address. Our technology instead uses biometric identification with an NFC chip scan, validates proof of address by using a live login system into the address provider to confirm the document.

How do I know Mirror works as an EIDV tool?

Our priority is your compliance safety. We ensure genuineness and authenticity across all of our checks, real-time authentication and strength in your auditable footprint. When building Mirror as a CDD platform, we embarked on a Joint Development Programme, working alongside several law firms to create compliance software that was built for legal services. We also asked an independent barrister to deliver his opinions on the Mirror technology. We’ve engaged Gregory Treverton-Jones QC of 39 Essex Chambers to undertake a thorough review after having seen the product. Below is the conclusion of his findings:

“In my view, the Mirror system [...] is unquestionably superior to the traditional system of verification, for a number of reasons: a. The risks of fraud are clearly reduced; b. As set out above, one of the problems with current processes is that regulated firms have one eye on satisfying the regulator as to their systems, rather than concentrating on the crucial issue, which is proper verification of identity and location; c. There is a considerable saving of time both for the prospective client and for the solicitor.”

How can I see Mirror in action?

You can get in touch with our team who would be happy to show you how the platform works.

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