Enhanced due diligence EDD

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD): Meaning & Requirements

What is Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) & Why is it

Businesses aiming to combat money laundering and terrorist financing must adhere to regulatory requirements like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines. Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) serves as an advanced level of scrutiny beyond standard due diligence, particularly in higher-risk scenarios where standard measures may fall short.

As a business owner navigating complex regulatory landscapes, EDD becomes a crucial ally. By thoroughly investigating customer backgrounds and behaviors, EDD provides essential insights to preemptively mitigate risks.

In today’s highly regulated financial environment, non-compliance consequences can be severe. EDD stands as a vital defense against financial crimes, offering invaluable support in upholding financial integrity.

What are High-Risk Customers?

High-risk customers are individuals or entities that pose a heightened risk of involvement in illegal activities, such as money laundering, fraud, or terrorist financing. Various factors contribute to this classification, including the customer’s location in jurisdictions known for financial crime, involvement in high-risk industries like gambling
or precious metals, unusual transactional behavior such as frequent large cash deposits, and legal or regulatory issues such as previous involvement in financial crimes or lack of proper licensing.

When dealing with high-risk customers, businesses must conduct enhanced due diligence to gather in-depth information and assess associated risks effectively. This includes:

  • Gather precise identity details such as full legal name, date of birth, and current residential address.
  • Conduct in-depth background investigations, including criminal record checks and reputation assessments.
  • Acquire comprehensive financial records, including bank statements, tax filings, and investment portfolios.
  • Identify and scrutinize politically exposed persons (PEPs), examining their roles, affiliations, and potential influence.
  • Analyze transactional data for unusual patterns, such as sudden large transfers or frequent international transactions

Enhanced Due Diligence vs. Standard Due Diligence

The primary distinction between enhanced due diligence (EDD) and standard due diligence lies in the depth of scrutiny applied. While standard due diligence involves basic identity verification and background checks, EDD requires a more comprehensive examination of high-risk customers or transactions.

For instance, standard due diligence may verify a customer’s identity and address, while EDD would delve deeper into their financial history, beneficial ownership structures, and potential red flags.

Distinctive features set Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) apart from Standard Customer Due Diligence (CDD):

  1. Risk Assessment: EDD zeroes in on identifying and managing elevated risks linked to specific customers, while CDD concentrates on establishing an overall risk profile for all customers.
  2. Depth of Information: EDD demands a deeper dive into data collection and analysis compared to CDD. This depth is necessary because EDD targets high-risk customers and their transactions, requiring a more thorough examination.
  3. Comprehensive Documentation: EDD requirements prioritize providing “reasonable assurance” in assessing customer risk profiles. To achieve this, investigators meticulously document each step of the process, emphasizing the reliability of captured data.
  4. Regulatory Mandates: Regulatory bodies often stipulate EDD for specific high-risk sectors or customer segments, unlike CDD, which applies universally. Additionally, EDD necessitates a higher burden of proof compared to CDD, particularly in determining ultimate beneficial ownership and understanding business relationships’ nature and purpose.
  5. Focus on PEPs: EDD compliance mandates a keen focus on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) – individuals holding positions vulnerable to money laundering exploitation. Identifying and assessing the potential risks associated with PEPs is a critical aspect of EDD protocols.

The Legal Framework and requirements for EDD

Understanding the legal rules for Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) is like knowing the dos and donts before starting a project. It’s about knowing what’s expected to keep things running smoothly. These rules help businesses stay on track, avoid financial risks, and meet legal requirements without any surprises.

Enhanced Due Diligence Requirements

Enhanced due diligence requirements vary across industries and jurisdictions but generally include identifying high-risk customers, conducting thorough risk assessments, documenting due diligence efforts, and implementing robust risk mitigation measures. Compliance is essential to adhere to laws, regulations, and industry standards governing AML, Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF), and customer due diligence (CDD).

Different sectors, such as banks, financial institutions, and cryptocurrency exchanges, have specific EDD requirements tailored to their risk profiles and regulatory obligations.


  • Conducting thorough background checks on customers, including verifying their identity and assessing their risk level.
  • Implementing enhanced transaction monitoring systems to detect suspicious activities, such as large or unusual transactions.
  • Screening customers against sanction lists and politically exposed person (PEP) databases.
  • Performing ongoing due diligence on high-risk customers and transactions.
  • Establishing clear protocols for reporting suspicious activities to regulatory authorities.

Financial Institutions:

  • Verifying the identity of customers through multiple sources, such as government-issued identification and utility bills.
  • Assessing the nature and purpose of the business relationship to understand potential risks.
  • Conducting enhanced due diligence on high-risk customers, such as those involved in international transactions or with complex ownership structures.
  • Monitoring customer accounts for unusual activity and promptly investigating any suspicious transactions.
  • Maintaining thorough documentation of due diligence efforts and risk assessments.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges:

  • Implementing robust customer identification procedures, including verifying customers’ identities through government-issued identification and proof of address.
  • Conducting enhanced due diligence on customers engaging in large or high-risk transactions.
  • Monitoring cryptocurrency transactions for suspicious activity, such as transactions involving large sums of money or rapid movement of funds.
  • Adhering to regulations regarding anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) in the cryptocurrency space.
  • Collaborating with regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies to combat illicit activities in the cryptocurrency sector.

Global Regulators for Enhanced Due Diligence

Global regulators such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the European Union (EU) are instrumental in establishing guidelines for Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) to tackle financial crime effectively. These regulations, including the USA PATRIOT Act in the United States and the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive
(5AMLD), outline precise requirements for EDD compliance.

They mandate thorough due diligence processes, meticulous documentation, and proactive risk mitigation measures. Adherence to these regulations is crucial for organizations to ensure compliance and strengthen global financial integrity.

The EDD Process: Step by Step

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) involves a systematic approach to assessing and mitigating risks associated with customers or transactions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the EDD process:

  1. Employing a risk-based approach: Begin by assessing the level of risk posed by the customer or transaction based on factors such as geographic location, transaction volume, and nature of business.
  2. Obtaining additional identifying information: Gather comprehensive information about the customer’s identity, including full name, date of birth, address, and other relevant details.
  3. Reviewing ultimate beneficial ownership and source of funds: Investigate the ownership structure of the customer’s business or assets to determine the ultimate beneficial owners. Verify the source of funds or wealth to ensure they are legitimate and not derived from illicit activities.
  4. Implementing transaction monitoring: Set up systems to monitor customer transactions for any unusual or suspicious activity that may indicate potential money laundering or terrorist financing.
  5. Using adverse media screening: Conduct searches across media sources to identify any negative news or associations related to the customer, which could indicate higher risk.
  6. Conducting on-site visits: In certain cases, conduct physical visits to the customer’s premises to verify their existence and operations, particularly for high-risk customers.
  7. Reviewing documentation and reporting: Review all documentation collected during the EDD process, ensuring it is accurate, complete, and compliant with regulatory requirements.Report any suspicious findings or red flags identified during the EDD process to relevant authorities as per regulatory obligations.
  8. Developing an ongoing risk-based monitoring system: Establish procedures for ongoing monitoring of customer accounts and transactions to detect any changes in risk profile over time.

Applications of Enhanced Due Diligence

Enhanced Due Diligence for Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) plays a critical role in identifying and mitigating the risks associated with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) activities. Unlike standard due diligence processes, which focus on basic identity verification and transaction monitoring, EDD involves a more thorough examination of customers and their activities.

Key ways EDD contributes to AML efforts include:

  • Identification of High-Risk Customers: EDD enables businesses to identify high-risk customers, such as politically exposed persons (PEPs), individuals with complex ownership structures, or customers with unusual transaction patterns.
  • Enhanced Risk Assessment: By analyzing factors such as source of funds, transaction volume, and geographic location, they can better understand the level of risk posed by each customer and tailor their AML measures accordingly.
  • Detection of Suspicious Activities: By monitoring transactional behavior and conducting ongoing due diligence, businesses can identify anomalies such as large, unexplained transactions or frequent cash deposits, which may warrant further investigation.
  • Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: By adhering to these requirements and conducting thorough due diligence, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to combating money laundering and mitigate the risk of regulatory penalties.

Enhanced Due Diligence and KYC (Know Your Customer)

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) complements Know Your Customer (KYC) processes by providing a deeper level of scrutiny for verifying the identity of customers. While KYC focuses on verifying the identity of customers at the onboarding stage, EDD extends beyond basic identification to assess the risk posed by individual customers and

Here’s how EDD complements KYC processes:

  • Deeper Customer Analysis: EDD involves a more thorough examination of customer backgrounds, financial histories, and transaction patterns. By conducting enhanced due diligence, businesses can gain deeper insights into the legitimacy of a customer’s identity and assess the level of risk associated with their account.
  • Identification of High-Risk Customers: EDD helps businesses identify high-risk customers who may require additional scrutiny due to factors such as their occupation, geographic location, or transactional behavior.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: While KYC focuses on verifying customer identities at the onboarding stage, EDD involves ongoing monitoring of customer accounts and activities.
  • Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Regulatory authorities often require businesses to implement both KYC and EDD measures as part of their compliance efforts. By incorporating EDD into their KYC processes, businesses can ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and demonstrate their commitment to preventing financial crime.

Examples of Enhanced Due Diligence

Let’s explore examples of a time when Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) comes into play to fight against financial crime. These are great ways to understand the practical implementations of EDD.

Cryptocurrency Exchange:

A cryptocurrency exchange observed a surge in transactions involving a particular wallet address, with funds flowing in from various sources.The exchange implemented enhanced due diligence measures, including blockchain analysis tools and customer verification procedures. Through EDD, the exchange uncovered that the wallet address
was associated with illicit activities, such as dark web transactions and ransomware payments. By suspending the account and cooperating with law enforcement agencies, the exchange prevented further criminal activity and enhanced trust among its users.

Offshore Banking:

A bank notices a sudden increase in high-value transactions from an offshore account with a limited activity history. The bank conducts enhanced due diligence by scrutinizing the source of funds, conducting thorough background checks on the account holder, and assessing the legitimacy of the transactions. Through EDD, the bank discovers that the account is being used for money laundering purposes. Prompt action, including freezing the account and reporting to regulatory authorities, prevents further illicit financial flows.

Real Estate Investment

A real estate firm encounters a potential client seeking to invest a significant sum in property purchases with cash transactions and complex ownership structures. The firm conducts enhanced due diligence by verifying the source of funds, conducting background checks on the client and associated parties, and scrutinizing the transaction’s purpose. Through EDD, the firm discovers that the client is attempting to conceal the proceeds of corruption through real estate investments. By refusing the transaction and reporting suspicious activity, the firm mitigates the risk of facilitating financial crime and maintains regulatory compliance.

The Future of Enhanced Due Diligence

Emerging trends in technology, regulation, and industry practices mark the future of EDD. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and data analytics enable businesses to enhance their EDD capabilities, automate manual processes, and improve risk assessment accuracy. Key trends include the adoption of digital identity verification
solutions, AI-driven risk scoring models, and blockchain-based transaction monitoring systems.

AI-driven scoring models use real-time data analysis to assess risks associated with customers and transactions, enabling more accurate risk prioritization and decision-making.

Blockchain-based transaction monitoring systems leverage blockchain’s transparency and immutability to track transactions securely, detect anomalies, and prevent fraud in real-time. Together, these technologies enhance risk management effectiveness and compliance with regulations, ensuring businesses stay ahead in identifying and mitigating financial risks.

Incode’s Role

As a leading provider of compliance solutions, Incode recognizes the critical importanceof Enhanced Due Diligence in safeguarding businesses against financial crime risks. By offering innovative EDD tools and technologies, Incode empowers organizations to strengthen their AML compliance efforts, protect their reputation, and build trust with

Incode encourages businesses across industries to adopt robust EDD processes and leverage advanced technologies to enhance their risk management capabilities. By staying ahead of regulatory requirements and embracing best practices in EDD, organizations can mitigate compliance risks, detect financial crime more effectively, and contribute to a safer and more transparent global financial system. Get in touch with us today to start down a path of security for your business.