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Sanctions list searches – the dreaded false positive

Having a financial advisor can work in your favour.

Sanctions lists are a significant part of the global fight against financial crime. These lists are used by governments and financial authorities all over the world to restrict or prohibit trade with foreign targets which are involved, or suspected of being involved, in illegal activities.

With the new rules and regulations, every client is continuously scanned through all the relevant international sanctions lists – and now and then a false positive may occur. This is where it can get a little scary, as this usually happens when you have a name that is quite common like “Tom Jones” – there are millions of people in the world that have this name and quite a few of them may very well be criminals and have either been convicted of a crime or are hiding from the law for a crime they have committed. Sounds a bit like a James Bond movie however, this is real life and this does happen.

This is where having a financial advisor comes in handy. Apart from the incredible advice you may receive from them on how to invest your hard-earned money, they can also assist with confirming your identity and if you have a good relationship with your advisor (which should be the case since you are entrusting your life savings with them), they can sign the relevant documents confirming you are who you say you are and that to the best of their knowledge you are not a criminal or a wanted person. This makes the process so much smoother and usually the false positive is cleared up in no time.

However, if you do not have a financial advisor the process is a lot more difficult and verification of the client is in-depth, time-consuming and can take a long time as there are many processes and red tape that need to be attended to. And while all this is happening, your assets, bank accounts, your whole life can be put on hold or “frozen” until the relevant authorities confirm without reasonable doubt you are who you say you are.

At the end of the day, it is worthwhile having a financial advisor that can assist with the fateful false positive and at the same time invest your hard-earned cash!


Michael Haldane

Global & Local Investment Advisors


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