SQA Sanctions Screening Articles

We have been bringing you a series of short articles related to sanctions screening, here is a handy index to help you browse through our back-catalogue of material.

List Related:

Sanctions Lists – Where to source the lists? Direct list access compared with vendor supplied lists.

Sanctions Lists – What’s in a name? – an overview of types of name data included on the sanctions lists.

SDN Names by President – a look at how the sanctions list has been used by Obama and Trump.

SDN Aliases by Program – which programs are feature rich with aliases, and are these a help or hinderance?

SDN Program influencing factors – what is driving OFAC into applying sanctions.

Where are all the SDNs? – where are they, and why should we be interested? updated 19th June 2020.

CTRP Lists – How far do you go?

Matching Related:

Transliterating Cyrillic Names – a look at the transliterations issues for names from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Screening Personal Names: Arabic Names – a look at the challenges of screening names from the traditional Arabic speaking countries.

Screening Personal Names: Korean Names – a look at the challenges of screening names from North Korea.

Screening Personal Names: Russian Names – a look at the challenges of screening names from Russian language countries.

Screening Personal Names: Spanish Names – a look at the challenges of screening names from Spanish language countries.

Screening for Muhammad – a look at the challenges of Muhammad (Mohammed).

Determining Customer Screening Risk – our equation that helps you understand your screening risk.

Fuzzy Matching epic fails – examples of fuzzy matching not helping things at all.

Screening Common Names – advanced screening strategies for avoiding unproductive alerts.

Screening and the Three Lines of Defence – how your three lines of defence model fits with screening.

Screening for Vessels – improve your efficiency by only screening vessels when you need to.

Navigating the sanctions on vessels – tackling the whole subject of the screening of vessels.

Auto Elimination:

A growing trend in financial institutions is performing rule-based auto elimination on secondary attributes. So for example when we have a match on a name; but a mismatch on a secondary attribute such as date of birth, nationality, or location; then the match will be eliminated before a person looks at it.

We at SQA Consulting only encourage this practice, but it should be done with care, computer-based rules have no lee-way for applying common sense, so your rules should be precise and cover all eventualities.

Eliminating on Location – Ambiguous Countries – making sure that you define your location consistently.

Eliminating on Location – Incorrect Country Field – making sure that you use all of your location information.

Eliminating on Location – Open Borders – do open borders make location elimination futile?

Eliminating on Date of Birth – making sure you have rules for all scenarios.

Eliminating on Date of Birth – First of the Month – does your date of birth bias towards the first of the month?

Eliminating on Date of Birth – Default Dates – has your data entry compromised your alert investigation?

Elimination Availability of data – do we have data to work with?

Data Quality Related:

SQA Launches KYC Data Quality Benchmark

Data Quality Index – Data quality can have a major impact on screening see how our index helps you benchmark and control your data quality.

Data Profiling for Customer Sanctions Screening Рhow to quickly and easily  assess your customer data quality and suitability for screening.

Russian False Friends – Cyrillic characters can cause confusion, especially when you cannot tell them from Latin ones.

Chinese Commercial Codes – if you have them, then you had better do something about it.


At SQA Consulting we provide services to benchmark your screening configuration, many of the worlds largest banking brands use our benchmarking service, but also smaller institutions and other types of financial institutions. Our benchmarking service aims to not only prove you are on track, but direct you on how to improve your configuration.

Sanctions Screening Effectiveness – Benchmarking 1

Sanctions Screening Effectiveness – Benchmarking 2

Sanctions Screening Effectiveness – Benchmarking 3

Setting Your Screening Thresholds

Most, if not all, of these articles are covered in a book: “Name Screening”. Which has the rather lengthy sub-title: “A practical guide to computer based matching and manual elimination of name matches, within a sanctions screening environment”. The author: Jeremy Round, is our director of Financial Crime.

Unfortunately our stock of this book has now dwindled to nothing (it can still be purchased on Amazon).

However, the long awaited second edition of “Name Screening”, has now been drafted and will be released soon. If you want to reserve a free copy, then all you have to do is e-mail a selfie of yourself with the first edition in hand, and state permission for us to use your name, role, and photo on a special “rogue’s gallery” page on this website. If you don’t have the first edition, then send a photo anyway and we will organise a bigger first print run to accommodate you.

Email your photos to jeremy.round@sqa-consulting.com

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