As a business, virtual or physical, you have a number of legal requirements. From ensuring you’re paying the right amount of tax to HMRC to honouring your employees’ rights.
If you use or are thinking of using a virtual office address, you may see reference to Anti-Money Laundering, or AML checks. Although Anti-Money Laundering checks are usually only carried out when dealing with large amounts of money, such as buying a house or car, they’re also important to ensure business fraud isn’t being committed.
At Virtual HQ, we don’t complete these checks just to keep our business safe and compliant, but also yours. Having your business associated with a dodgy address isn’t good for your reputation
Although virtual offices have been identified as a low risk industry to be exploited for money laundering, we’re still strict on our checks. The government states that virtual office addresses may be used for activities such as investment fraud, or as a tool to hide behind, making it difficult to identify and contact. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about Anti-Money Laundering checks for your business.
What does AML stand for? And what does it mean?
AML stands for Anti-Money Laundering. Money laundering is the process of making money gained by illegal means look legitimate. Sometimes referred to as ‘dirty money’, this could be gained through the drug trade, human trafficking, tax evasion, fraud – and more. Criminals will attempt to disguise where dirty money has come from in order to hide their crimes or avoid paying tax.
Anti-Money Laundering is the process of preventing these illegal activities from occurring or continuing. From Virtual HQ’s perspective, it ensures that we protect our customers from mixing in the same circles as these criminals. It also means we can easily keep the riff-raff out and legitimate, honest businesses in (that’s you).
What is an Anti-Money Laundering check?
An Anti-Money Laundering check is typically a soft search on your credit report. This means you don’t have to worry about your business or your personal credit score being affected. It also includes obtaining documentation from the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) of the business and running checks to verify their identity and their business.
It doesn’t mean you’re suspected of anything either; it’s a legal requirement and keeps your business safe whilst sharing the same address as other businesses.
What kind of business needs to perform an AML check?
There are lots of different types of businesses, in multiple sectors, that need to perform AML checks. Basically, any business that deals with large sums of money (banks for instance) or that has been flagged as a risk for money laundering (virtual offices for instance) by the government.
You can find out more about money laundering guidance and regulations from the UK government here.
Why we impose Anti-Money Laundering checks at Virtual HQ
We want to ensure your business is safe from fraud, it’s as simple as that. We impose them as it’s a legal requirement and it ensures, to the best of our ability, that all the businesses associated with the virtual office address are legitimate. All clients are subject to the same checks. We believe we have an obligation to protect your company from any outside influence that could affect your reputation and the smooth running of your business.
With Anti-Money Laundering checks, we’re protecting both your business and our own.
To find out more about our virtual office services and the process for meeting our Anti-Money Laundering requirements, visit our website.