What is Adverse Media and why do we need it ?


What is Adverse Media and why do we need it?

Globally there is a spotlight on regulated industries and the general trend right now is for countries to encourage or force adverse media screening checks in order to assist with combating any poor AML protocols.

Onboarding a client with a poor reputation and a risky background may put your business at risk of assisting fraudsters with money laundering and fraudulent activities and essentially, threatening the future of the business.

An ‘adverse media’ or ‘negative news’ check is a critical element of the AML onboarding process. It allows businesses in regulated industries to investigate or screen potential clients, both individual and corporate, against online articles, legal prosecution or content which may affect the customer’s final risk by revealing their involvement in fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorism or other types of crimes. Essentially it is a check which will assist a business with clarifying whether an individual or a corporate entity is a liability, and if they could endanger the security of your business.

Very often it is incorrectly assumed that an adverse media or negative news check only includes negative details or information from traditional news sources such as local media, television or radio broadcasts, but in reality the results include both positive and negative articles.

Now whilst historically, it was common for businesses to process manual adverse media checks, which is done by searching for negative news relating to a potential customer in a search engine such as Google. At the point when an article or something is found, the analysts will need to investigate the results and cross check with the client’s personal or company data in order to determine whether the article is a true hit with potential impact or a false positive.

Considering the sheer volume of data and fake news which the public is subject to and the fact that questionable news sources are combined within all results from a Google search, AML staff are subjected to an incredibly time-intensive and arduous task of sifting through the ‘noise’, which increases the potential for high-risk entities falling through the cracks due to the large influx of false positives.

Taking Europe as an example, the so-called ‘Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) ‘requires the screening of high-risk flags in cross-jurisdictional financial crime activity. Currently there is no standard on how these checks should be performed, but what is clear is it is near impossible to carry out an effective adverse media check manually.

For an adverse media check to be effective, the internal processes and solutions need to accommodate these changes and take into account unstructured but credible data found across many different online sources (blogs, social media, online forums, public databases).

There are many incredibly sophisticated solutions out in the market which are able to perform these checks in real-time using powerful AI and machine learning algorithms, sifting through an immense amount of both structured and unstructured data can be combined and consumed. Using the machine’s intelligence, the solution can sift out the false positives and fake news and present the relevant results which provide value to the business thus painting a holistic picture of an individual or organisation for the business.

An important aspect to keep in mind is that an adverse media search only provides insights into historical information relating to an individual or company’s risk profile.

Businesses need to make certain that the customers records are constantly updated based on their activity and this is where an integration with an ongoing transaction monitoring solution such as ComplyRadar adds value, the solutions essentially ‘feed’ off of one another to help financial institutions and other regulated businesses build a behaviour profile of that client over time. Therefore, in addition to expanding their perspective on an emerging story, businesses will be able to identify patterns of behaviour through ComplyRadar’s behavioural analytics and react quickly to changes, and ultimately, better fulfil their compliance obligations over the long term.


Contact us at ComplyRadar and let’s have a discussion on how we can put together a solution that provides your business with an end-to-end AML and / or fraud solution, giving both you and your local regulator the confidence that you have things under control.

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