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Created by Professional Office
Telephone: 0333 301 0703

Latest News


Membership update

As of the 1st April 2018 our annual membership fee will be increasing to £25.00 (+VAT) per year. This will be reflected on your next membership renewal. 

It should be noted that this is our first price increase in 8 years of providing successful Sanctions and AML services and reflects the ongoing improvements and investments we make in our service to you.

In the past year alone, our Sanctions Search service has been independently verified and we have become ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified. We launched our PEP monitoring system, and behind the scenes we continue to make improvements to our products and services.

We are continuing to develop new and exciting products and services, and we hope to share these with you in the coming months.


ValidID iOS App.

It has been 3 years in the planning and 9 months of development work. Professional Office Ltd are pleased to announce that the new ValidID ios app is now live.

Our app allows you to gather ID documents and other paperwork without a photocopier in site all completely secure and safe for the client.

Our system also reads the passport and driving licence meaning you don't have to unnecessarily key data into our system to carry out your ID checks. For more information visit here

To get yours version of the app please visit the app store and search for ValidID for IOS

or click here :

For more information or a live demonstration of the what the app does please contact us on 0843 713 0 777


The big build has started.

That is true, the largest software build we have ever attempted has started.

We cannot tell you too much at this stage as it is top secret but suffice to say it will be awesome.

Over the coming months we will be launching something that has not been done before, a completely new way of using our system and above all a more simpler way of carrying out ID checks.

For more information watch this space and also keep an eye on your dashboard notices. We will notify all users when we launch this major new update.


Update to save file and the PDF function.

Some of you may already be aware that saving a PDF is a very resource intensive process for any computer let alone one that is serving a system such as ours.

With that in mind we have been working on a solution to offload the PDF function to one of our servers that has more resources available, so as to reduce the burden that creating these files may have on the overall functionality of the site and system.

Therefore we are pleased to announce some changes which we have made to the PDF function within the system.

When you save a file it will be scheduled by the server to be done on a first come first serve basis and stored in a new area on your dashboard called "Saved PDF documents"

These files normally only take 60 seconds to compile but can take many minutes depending on the amount of data in them. Once completed these files will be stored for 7 days so please remember to download them if you wish to keep them.


Canadian and Australian sanctions lists added to

As of today users will now be able to subscribe to the Australian and Canadian sanctions lists from the DFAT and OSFI respectively.

If you have operations or conduct any business in Canada or Australia you will find this update of great use as it will ensure compliance with local regulatory requirements.

For more information and to subscribe to the additional lists click the "Subscribed Lists" link under the shopping cart tab from your dashboard.

We still only use the one search credit regardless how many lists you screen against.

As usual if you have any questions regarding this or any other update please contact us and we will be happy to help.


CompanyLookup Enhanced

As promised the first of our many updates rolled out to users this week.

This update is an excellent improvement to the already popular CompanyLookup function and is known as CompanyLookup Enhanced.

There is a memorable phrase “It does what it says on the tin”, well CompanyLookup Enhanced is exactly that. It provides enhanced data on companies beyond the shareholder and director data you may already be used to such as:

  • Company Information
  • Company Summary
  • Company Registration Number
  • Latest Turnover
  • Latest Shareholder Equity
  • Credit Rating
  • Advised Credit Limit
  • Credit Status
  • Main Business Activities along with SIC code/s
  • Date of Latest Return
  • Next Accounting Date Due
  • Category
  • Company Identification
  • Contact Information
  • Share Structure
  • Current Directors
  • Previous Directors
  • Group Structure
  • Financial Statements
  • County Court Judgments - Exact Matches
  • County Court Judgments - Possible Matches
  • Company History
  • Commentaries
  • Shareholders
  • Secondary Data
  • Credit Rating History
  • Credit Limit History

There are a number of reasons you may want to use this additional feature, curiosity may be one, that said we expect most users will use this tool to reduce risk to their firms by ensuring the companies that they trade with are as sound and worthy of their business as they are.

The cost for using this tool is £0.80 plus VAT.

As usual we hope you like the tool and find it easy to use.

Don’t forget keep the feedback coming, it is you our users that shapes the system of the future. Keep watching this page as there is much more to come.


We know we have been quiet on our news page over the last few months; this has been due to the fact that we have been planning our exciting 2014 upgrades.

You will be pleased to know they have started and here are the first of many to go system live.

  • Sub users can no longer delete clients unless admins provide permission. Admins can give permission for sub users to delete client data but by default only administrators can now delete clients.

    This was based on feedback from our various compliance advisors.
  • Breakdown of cost usage to the account balance page.

    Users who have carried out ValidID checks and CompanyLookups and therefore spent money over and above their membership can now see a breakdown of money spent along with the name of the user who did the search and the client name that was searched next to the cost.

    To see this new section click on the account balance link on your shopping cart tab from your dashboard and there is now a new link on the account balance page called Go to Purchase History and this is the new breakdown of the ancillary services we have provided.

We hope you find these useful.

Please keep watching there is more coming over the weeks and months.


The risks of running Windows XP after April 8th 2014

Support for Windows XP will cease after April 8th 2014 please see Microsoft article

This might not sound like much of an issue to most but to anyone running windows XP it should be major issue indeed. Support for any software product includes software updates such as critical fixes and patches for security flaws. To not have these updates will potentially leave your computer vulnerable to exploits by hackers and other malicious issues.

If you are running any software or storing any clients personal information you may be putting it all at risk post April 2014.

I have not written this just to frighten people I have written this to make users aware of the very serious issues that having an un-supported operating system presents.

I have recently had a conversation with a firm who said that the software provider of their back office system, who shall remain nameless, has said that their software will only run on Windows XP and nothing newer. I have just advised them to get in writing that this software company will indemnify the broker against any and all liabilities that running Windows XP causes.

So for anyone out there still running Windows XP you have a couple of months to upgrade to something more suitable, I would suggest considering Windows 7 which is not to dissimilar to XP but will have continued Microsoft  support for many more years to come.

I know this will cost money, sadly we can’t escape that, but putting client data at risk can cost a lot more if the Information Commissioner fines you for Data Protection breaches, and that is forgetting the reputational risk issue that compromising clients personal information can cause.

If you read this and find that you need help or have questions please contact me and I will be happy to help.

Chris Clare


RBS fined $100m for violating US sanctions

Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined a total of $100m (£61m) by US regulators for violating US sanctions against countries including Iran.

The bank previously conducted an internal investigation back in 2010 into historical US dollar payment processes and controls.

The investigation revealed that location information was removed from certain payments made to US financial institutions from countries such as Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Burma.

The US Treasury has established that these violations occurred between 2005 and 09, with a total of 3,500 transactions worth $523m routed though New York banks.

US regulators say RBS bank procedures had instructed employees to include the name of the Iranian financial institution rather than the Bank Identifier Code as part of payment instructions.

As a result, information about these banks was missed off cover letters and forms sent to US clearing banks.

Evidence from the New York Division of Financial Services also found that UK-based RBS employees received written instructions and a “step-by-step guide” on how to avoid detection.

RBS have issued a statement saying it “acknowledges and deeply regrets these failings”.

The bank reached the settlement with the US Department of Financial Services, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.

Original article courtesy of Mortgage Strategy

Chris Clare, director of Professional Office Ltd owners of, said "Being aware of sanctions and sanctioned individuals is only part of the issue firms need to be aware of, it is also incumbent on them to have systems and controls so as to not breach trade and country sanctions, especially when doing business through the United States." Chris went on to say, "Hopefully there will be a clear message sent to all firms to take the whole business of Financial Sanctions very seriously.


API version 2

Users will be pleased to know that version 2 of our API is now live.

Version 2 comes with a great deal more functionality than the previous version 1. In addition V2 also incorporates elements such as CompanyLookup and the popular new tool ValidID.

We have also put a lot of work and attention into the documentation and API schema to make deployment that much easier for your developers.

For more information on accessing the new version and to discuss it further please contact us on 0843 713 0 777.


Notes section in ValidID records.

As a member you will probably already know we listen to our clients. In response to feedback we have just introduced a notes section within the ValidID check.

Obviously this section is to make whatever notes you like. That said it is an opportunity to make notes on why you may or may not have taken any action on that particular record, ensuring a continuous and robust record of information is maintained against the client record for compliance. 

Furthermore any note made is date and time stamped along with the users name for full accountability (subject to sub users being set up within the main account).


Professional Office Ltd launches ValidID.

ValidID is a new product within the tool which allows users to validate their clients identity for Anti Money Laundering Purposes.

Not only can you check the client is on the voters roll you can also validate Passport, Driving Licences obtain previous address and confirm whether there are CCJs etc.

This is a very powerful tool and it has been brought to you with the same attention to usability and costs that Professional Office and SanctionsSearch are known for.

For more information visit the about ValidID page here 


Treasury to change the name of the Asset Freezing Unit.

As of the 1st of April 2013 the Asset Freezing Unit will no longer be known as the Asset Freezing Unit. The Treasury will now have a new name for this department. It will be known as "Financial Sanctions".

Notifications have been sent to all subscribers and the change will take effect from the 1st of April.

Here at all notices that refer to the Asset Freezing Unit will be updated in time for this change.


Invoice payments

You can now pay by invoice from within the system.

Users needing extra credits, purchase of, or extension to a membership or any other additional services will find, in the payment screen, the ability to pay by invoice.

This new process will not delay the product or service you are trying to obtain in fact you will receive that instantly. All that happens is we get a system email telling us to raise an invoice.

So please do not be concerned about paying by invoice as anything you request will be instantly applied.

For more information please contact us on 0843 713 0 777.



It has finally arrived, after 6 months of development work we can finally announce our CompanyLookup tool is now live and available to all members.

For firms dealing with companies this element of the system allows them to seamlessly acquire the directors and shareholders details for the on-going sanctions screen.

Not only does it reduce the need to manually obtain this vital further information but it also stitches it all together within the system making for a quality audit trail which is both thorough and easy to navigate connected entities and people.

We believe that this is unique in the sanctions screening arena and we are sure you will find it an invaluable addition to our system and your account.

For more information on costs and how to get this tool activated on your account or a free demonstration, please contact us on 0843 713 0 777.



After many requests we have now introduced a Notes section for each sanctions check.

This means that you can record any comments you wish to make regarding that search such as why you clicked "My client was not in the results"

Any notes submitted will be recorded in an uneditable format along with the date, time and the name of the user/sub user that made the note. 

This means there is a fully accountable audit trail of things that happened in time to the search record. 


Estate Agents should be registered with Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under anti-money Laundering regulations since January 31st 2010. Failure could mean they are breaking the law, which could result in a fine, prison sentence or both. 

Firms involved in the transaction of credit or any lending activity, which most estate agents generally are, should register if they are not already authorised by the FSA. 

Money laundering controls help prevent legitimate businesses being used to launder money, which is where money or property obtained by criminal activities are exchanged for clean money or property with no obvious link to its criminal origins. This type of activity is common in drugs trafficking and terrorist financing, amongst other illegal enterprises.


Estate Agent fined £11,844 for money laundering failures. 

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has fined Leicester-based IPS Estate Agents Limited £11,844 for failing to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

The regulator said IPS failed to comply with a number of requirements under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, including those relating to:

  • verifying the identity of customers
  • keeping appropriate records
  • ensuring that relevant staff are aware of the law relating to money laundering and terrorist financing
  • establishing and maintaining appropriate, risk-sensitive policies and procedures.

The failures relate to the period between March 2010 and October 2011. The OFT visited IPS premises to check compliance with the Regulations in June 2011 and again in October 2011.

Kate Pitt, OFT deputy director of anti-money laundering, said: “This fine sends out a message to all estate agents that they need to have appropriate measures in place to prevent their business from being used for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes.”

This story is courtesy of


Parity check. 

Users will find that they are now warned if they try and search a client with a name that they already have in their account.

We know that some clients do share the same name so you will be given a choice to continue the search if the customer is different from the one identified in the account.

This facility hopefully will reduce duplicate same client entries in accounts and therefore further reduce costs associated with using


New permissions based sub users section. 

You will notice a lot of changes have taken place under the sub users section. You can now delete sub users and allocated the client data below them to anyone else within the account.

After user feedback we have also added a permissions system to this area of your account which will allow you to authorise sub users to see all or some of the other sub users data within the account. This will aid in multi sub users managing the whole account but aid in the accountability of who does what.

Please note sub users by default, only have permissions for their own account, further permissions must be granted by the admin account. 


The Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) has fined an estate agent over anti-money laundering failings.

The regulator imposed an £8,866 fine on Essex-based estate agent Michael Adkins, trading as JB Property Services, for failing to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

Despite being registered with the OFT for anti-money laundering (AML) purposes, the estate agent failed to verify the identity of its clients.

The OFT considers such breaches of the Regulations make the business vulnerable to being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

David Fisher, OFT director of credit and AML, said: “This fine sends out a strong message that we will impose proportionate and dissuasive fines where we find evidence of serious non compliance with Money Laundering Regulations.”

This story is courtesy of


New account report page. 

This page allows users to quickly see statistics on what has happened to their account over a given period of time, such as amount of clients screened, re-screend, amount of un-resolved searches and the amount of updates which have taken place during the particular period.


OFAC screening. 

As well as the HM Treasury sanctions list, users can now select the US Treasury sanctions list, also known as the Office of Foreign Assets Control OFAC list.

Users wishing to subscribe to the OFAC list please visit the "Subscribed Lists" page available from the account dashboard under the shopping trolley tab.

To add an additional list to your screening process costs £20 per year but all re-screens after updates are still completely free. (subject to our fair usage policy as outlined in our T&Cs)

More lists will be coming soon, if however there is a specific list you need to screen against which currently isn’t available, please contact us and we will schedule it to be deployed.


New system update.

After 6 months of development work SanctionsSearch launches a brand new user interface and system technology.

Users will probably get a bit of a shock but the changes go far deeper than just the look of the system. We believe that the changes to the systems user interface will make for a better customer journey as the system is now far more intuitive to use. At first glance you will find a brand new dashboard designed to make navigation a lot more easier.

There are also better algorithms for searching and returning results and better management on how those results are displayed.

Finally the whole system now sits on the new Microsoft Windows Azure™ platform. This is primarily for greater stability in high traffic periods and to allow us to further enhance the system without worrying about server uptime issues. 

All of this is delivered from the state of the art Microsoft ™ data centre.


BIBA sanctions facility. are proud to announce, we have gone live with the British Insurance Brokers Association to provide all their members with a Sanctions checking facility.

Members have been sent their usernames and passwords but for anyone who has not received theirs please contact us and we will re-send them to you.


Algorithm update. 

We have been working for the last 6 months on a major new update to our search algorithm.

Since launch in May 2010 we have be aware of the need to get searches more accurate and reduce minor matches but also not increase the risk to firms of false negatives. (Confirmation that a client is not on the sanctions list when in fact they are).

In addition many brokers have asked us about fuzzy search, which is a tolerance for getting names wrong by virtue of cultural difference or mistyping.

We have always had the ability to fuzzy search, but in tests it always produced significantly more matches than the current system, so we reluctantly left this element turned off.

That said we knew we needed to have this tolerance built into the system which is why we have been working on a new algorithm.

Without going into the specifics of how it works (this is top secret!) we can tell you that the new formula almost listens to what you have typed and compares the sound of the name with similar sounding names on the sanctions list this basically means that if you type in Moostafa Amed you will get matches for names such as Mustapha AHMED. As you can see this is spelt quite differently and therefore gives a reasonable tolerance for mistakes. Please note it is very important that the data that you type in is correct so it is recommended that you always use your money laundering evidence to ensure you have the correct spelling of any names.

So how does this reduce minor matches? Well on its own it doesn’t, but the other part of the search algorithm also looks at the customers other name, if one name has a similar sounding match. For example if you typed in Mustafa Jones; the old system would have provided you with many minor matches (subject to you spelling Mustafa correctly). We have had to provide you with these matches as it is your responsibility to confirm that your client is not the same as the one listed on the list.

Now the system will still find a match with Mustafa or indeed Moostafa, but now it will look at the jones and if that does not sound similar to the second or other names of the Mustafa on the sanctions list the system quite correctly ignores it as a possible match.

So what does this mean in your day to day use of the system?

Minor matches have now been reduced from 35% - 45%, down to a pleasant 3% which means far less work reconciling results.

Results that do come back may in some cases seem a little bizarre due to the sounding like element of the system. Remember a computer listens to things different to a human.

Whilst we always recommend caution when typing names into the system, it is now a little more forgiving on the clumsy typist which I myself am guilty of.

The traffic light system is now fully in force Green = no match Yellow = Partial Match Red = Major data match. In light of this yellow is a match that you do need to check, but red is one you really need to check as this is a significant data match.

Finally, both in the single entry system and the CSV upload, the name section has now changed. As the sanctions list has space for 6 names we have accommodated that within the single search and the CSV so if you have more names than the traditional 2 or 3 please put them in for more data accuracy, if not just leave them blank.

If you have any questions or need help please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. 0845 652 67 67


Professional Office Ltd creators of are pleased to announce their new system provides firms the ability to send and recieve secure email to and from clients to maintain data protection.

In all likelihood, your business models will require you to correspond regularly with clients, providers, suppliers etc. and no doubt there will sometimes be a need to send important and sensitive documents via email.  BUT BEWARE.  'Normal' email  is known to be a completely insecure mode of communication and as a result, sending anything even slightly sensitive or confidential could represent a breach of the Data Protection Act.

With this in mind we have created a very simple but extremely robust and secure system for sending and receiving sensitive and confidential information - 'LockedMail'.

Please view LockedMail at

Our gift to you.....

In recognition of the fact that you are a client, we are pleased to be able to provide you with a 10% discount on all our packages.

Basic accounts are free and paid accounts start at only £15 per annum for more information on pricing please visit

To be clear......

This means that your clients will automatically

  • be provided with a free account to receive email AND 
  • be able to send up to 6 free messages to anyone PLUS!!!!!!
  • accounts for sending more email start from as little as £15 per year.

And in conclusion.....

We have aimed to provide a top quality system at an affordable price just like

For more information or to register for a free trial account please visit
Remember..... if you use the above link and subscribe you will benefit from a 10% discount.


After feedback we have changed the way the client management tool displays sanctions results. A lot of our customers have large client banks and some of the networks have requested that a sanctions certificate is printed out for each client. This can be quite cumbersome so we have adapted the client management to print out a full list of clients along with any matches on the sanctions list providing a full and complete audit trail available from one file within your office.

In client management click "Print All Clients" click OK to the question Do you want to include search results for each client ......

Client management access

Once you have completed this you will have your full client list screen along with the expanded search matches.

Client list to print

We recommend a firm either prints these off and keep them in a Sanctions folder or save them as a PDF and store them on a PC.

We do hope this latest update is of some help. Any feedback from users is always treated seriously so if you would like us to look at any aspect of the system please get in touch.

17.08.2010 launches new client management tool.

This new tool allows for easy searching of your client database should you need to find a particular certificate or client record.

This new system also allows users to print of a list of client results rather than individual certificates. Thus saving paper and time. You just keep a Sanctions register with all your clients results in one handy place.

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