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What is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP)?

A Politically Exposed Person (PEP), is an individual who is in a notable public position such as a President, Politician, Mayor, etc. Transactions involved with PEPs are considered as high-risk transactions, so businesses and companies need to be aware of the status of their clients to minimise this risk.

Read More about PEPs on our blog


Q. Does OFAC maintain a PEP list?

Whilst The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) does not maintain a specific PEP list, they publish multiple lists including Sanctions and Specially Designated Nationals which can be used to comply with Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing regulations.

Q. Are electoral candidates PEPs?

Simply running for office may not qualify an individual as a PEP, however, if the individual is elected to a notable position, which is considered to be politically exposed, this status will change and the individual will then be qualified as a PEP, as such it is important to monitor your existing clients so that you are aware of the potential risk they pose to your company.

Q. Why screening for PEPs is important?

The reason why it is important to identify if your client is a PEP, or not, is because transacting with a PEP can be viewed as a form of bribery & corruption, as such companies need to identify what level of risk this poses to their business and decide whether or not they wish to onboard the individual. Additionally, AML/CTF legislation requires financial institutions, and other organisations conducting high value transactions, to report any PEPs they do business with, to the appropriate authorities, if they consider them to be high risk.

Q. What is the best tool to screen PEP lists?

There are many online tools to screen against publicly available PEP lists. At NameScan we cover exclusive access to comprehensive PEP databases and provide tools to screen against these lists.

Q. When is a PEP no longer a PEP?

As long as an individual holds a notable public position, they are considered to be a PEP. However, it is important to continue monitoring your client since they have political affiliations and may be considered high risk.

Q. How often are PEP lists updated?

PEP lists are always dynamic and are constantly being updated. Some data providers update their database daily whilst others on a weekly/monthly basis. The sooner you identify a potential PEP the sooner you can decide what to do with them, on the other hand, unless you are planning on terminating a PEP relationship, an extra day, week or month is unlikely to make a real difference to your risk in the overwhelming majority of cases.

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