When submitting client information to Centrix for a SmartID check, it is possible for the politically exposed person (PEP) section to return a message saying: “International Watchlist PEP Status: Hit”.
Essentially, this means that someone with the exact name as your client is on one of the hundreds of watchlists that Centrix uses to determine if someone is potentially a Politically Exposed Person. It doesn't guarantee that this is your actual client.
As a hit doesn’t necessarily mean that your client is a PEP, you will need to take further steps to check accuracy of the ‘hit’ and clear them if they have been identified incorrectly.
To assist with research, the PEP section of the PDF report attached to the completed SmartID check contains a link you can follow to see why the hit was returned. It will show details such as country of residence, what sources held the exact name, date of birth, and other information to help determine the likelihood that this relates to your client.
You can use this to start to determine if your client is likely to be the same person found on the watchlist or whether it is a false positive. By checking the date of birth and/or country of residence you will hopefully be able to work out quickly whether your client is actually the match or not.
We would strongly recommend checking your AML/CFT compliance programme and talking to your compliance officer about the result and what to do. Being a PEP doesn’t necessarily preclude you from having them as a client but they need to be treated differently, typically having enhanced CDD performed, and this will require sign off by a senior compliance officer. Again, talk to your compliance officer.
If the result is a false positive you may want to advise your client as they will likely be identified by the next organisation to run a PEP check on them.