Rachel Sestini My Favourite Tipples from a Tax Specialist
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By Rachel Sestini

Abstract

My Favourite Tipples are shared by Rachel Sestini, managing director of Sestini & Co, a tax advisory business catering for high net worth individuals and high-growth business owners. She shares her insights into non-cost or low-cost sites to use as part of the Know Your Customer process.

Item

In tax consulting as in any financial business it's a legal requirement as well as good governance that all clients can prove their identity from the outset and that records are kept to demonstrate that sufficient due diligence has been done. But in other fields where referrals can come over an email from a third party and the client might be too far away for a face-to-face meeting, how can we be sure everyone is who they say they are?

A certified passport photo page and proof of address are a good start. Perhaps a bank reference as well, although this relies on someone else's systems and processes. As I could be called upon to write a financial reference, perhaps for a mortgage or visa application, I find it useful to cross-check the information I have against a number of other resources:

  • HM Land Registry, now to be found via the .gov.uk service, provides a quick, easy and cost-effective way to prove that a property is owned by the individual(s) in question; a copy of the title register currently costs £3 and clearly shows the property ownership. Similarly the electoral register is quick and easy to access and provides reliable information.
  • Companies House: The free information available on the Companies House website proves the existence of a company and its directors and shareholders. However, companies often use a registered office which differs from their trading address, so it's worth looking at the original incorporation documents as well as annual accounts and the various change of details forms which might have been filed over the life of the company.
  • LinkedIn and other social media can be used to find additional corroboration in the form of mutual connections, whether business or social, which can provide additional comfort, or a means to question further the information provided. In a referral situation, potential clients will often be second or third degree contacts already, so it's the unexpected links unconnected to the original source of the lead which are most interesting.
  • Google Advanced Search: For an individual who hasn't been in the UK for long and may not have bought a property, the official sources of information overseas can be harder to access or understand, so a good old-fashioned Google search (perhaps using the advanced search function) can sometimes be the answer, particularly for business people who may speak at conferences and write for others' websites or journals.
  • Wikipedia: Whilst none of the above in isolation could be relied upon, together with the paper documentation they can help to build up a longer-term picture and history to match to current circumstances. On the lighter side, for the higher-profile client, Wikipedia can generally be relied upon to provide some unexpected "insights" into their history, age and career.

 An article in FreePint which I found particularly interesting:  

  • "Taming Foreign Language Sources" which highlights the need to access and understand foreign-language content in order to operate successfully in a globally-interconnected world. 

Contribute Your "My Favourite Tipples"

Would you like to share your "My Favourite Tipples" with the FreePint audience? For contributor guidelines email catherine.dhanjal@freepint.com or visit the Publish with FreePint page.

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