How Sanctions Screening is Adapting to the Growing Challenge

The 2022 Thomson Reuters Anti-Money Laundering Insights Survey found that many firms had ranked sanctions screening as one of their top challenges. However, the ongoing use of economic sanctions to terminate a military war, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has made it extremely hard for firms to remain compliant in the absence of a strong sanctions screen mechanism.

Exclusion screen

Risk of Penalties and Negative Publicity

Sanctions are essential for combating financial crimes as well as for maintaining international and domestic peace. Given their importance, a company that keeps doing business with sanctioned authorities, organizations, or people risks facing hefty fines. Penalties for both civil and criminal offenses might surpass several million dollars in the US.

But there are other issues to consider besides just money. Authentic corporate citizenship is what investors and citizens around the world desire and they are quick to disassociate themselves from companies that fall short. Businesses run the risk of reputational risk if a screening is skipped since it may be interpreted as a failure to have a positive influence.

The major problem is the Current State

However, it is easier said than done to check if consumers are on the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctions lists. Despite the fact that screening of people and organizations is a regular aspect of anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (KYC) processes, businesses nevertheless encounter the following difficulties with their screening process:

  • Sanctions lists are subject to regular changes, even day-to-day. The new list must always be compared to the current client base after an update.
  • The KYC profile of a consumer may change over time, so internal data needs to be kept up to date.
  • Sanctions against money or trade are intricate, with each prohibition having a unique goal in mind. They differ depending on whether they have a broad or narrow reach and whether they are directed at a single person, a group of people, or an entire state.
  • They could have a time limit or last forever. Given the intricacy and variety, it takes time to comprehend how each applicable sanction functions.
  • In order to escape detection, restricted parties may employ complex techniques, such as creating shell corporations to manage forbidden businesses.
  • Other naming practices may result in inaccurate screening, particularly when it comes to international businesses.

Additionally, the amount of client data that needs to be evaluated may make it almost impossible for one individual or even for a small staff to keep track of it all, depending on the type of company and its scale.

Protocols for sanctions screening and exclusion screening to be improved for greater compliance

Even while automated tools increase efficiency, a trustworthy screening procedure still needs a human touch to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Additional measures can be taken by businesses to strengthen sanctions screening systems, such as:

  • Offering frequent training to workers
  • Every year to make sure the screening instrument is functioning as it should.
  • Use a professional who is aware of the relevant nation’s traditions, language, and business culture while evaluating a foreign organization.
  • determining which areas of the firm are more susceptible to interaction with unsavory organizations or people.
  • assessing ownership data to ensure that firms not on sanctions lists are not under the control of forbidden parties.

Firms can operate a comprehensive program that reduces the likelihood of an incompliant sanction by combining the newest technology with experts who are educated to apply it and who are knowledgeable about the sanctions landscape.


Meanwhile, we at Venops believe you might have received every information on why it is important to go through sanction screening for your business, especially the medical industry.

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