Screening Assurance Testing

Screening systems perform a key and vital role in protecting financial institutions against the threat of financial crime.   A financial institution’s success relies heavily on the effective performance of its screening system.  Screening systems also serve as a critical delivery mechanism for a financial institution’s compliance with many government foreign policy objectives.  As a result, screening systems receive a significant amount of attention from auditors and regulators in regard to their performance and effectiveness.   For this reason, financial institutions must be sure that they fully understand the limitations of their screening systems before someone else does.  SQA America Consulting is ready to perform the testing and support services that will provide that assurance.

The core component of SQA America Consulting’s (SQAAC) screening assurance testing services is the SQA Sanctions Assessment Center (SAC).  SAC is an industry leading assessment tool developed by SQA Consulting Limited in the UK that is used for testing the effectiveness of a financial institution’s sanctions and PEPs screening systems.  It is a tool that has been widely and effectively used among the global banks in the European marketplace.  As a result of its wide and accepted usage, SAC also offers financial institutions the capability to compare how their screening system performs relative to their peers in the banking industry.

Below is an overview of the primary process components included in SQAAC’s Assurance Testing strategy:


Download of Relevant Watch Lists – The SAC application has the capability to access and download most all relevant Watch Lists to base test cases upon.  List sources can include the following:

  • Global Sanctions Lists
  • Regional Sanctions Lists
  • Local Sanctions Lists
  • PEP Lists
  • Lists from NGOs and commercial organizations
  • Internal Watch Lists (proprietary lists compiled by individual financial institutions)
  • CTRP List (A cities, towns, regions and ports list that is self-aggregated by SQA Consulting UK)
  • Benchmark Lists (Lists that are designed to support the testing/analysis of screening effectiveness and efficiency)


Consolidation of Watch List Data – Once all relevant watch list data is collected, the lists can be compiled and supplemented with variations of personal name format to provide a comprehensive set of presentation formats.


Creation of Customer File – The ETL (Extract Transform and Load) function in the SAC application can then convert all of the compiled test cases into a customer data file that mimics a financial institution’s own data format.  The significant difference in the created test file is that it is poisoned with information that will stress any screening system to its limit.


Creation of Payment File – For payment screening systems, the test cases can be built into SWIFT messages, or any other payments system messages that may be required (e.g. SIC, FEDWIRE, CHAPS or SEPA). The SAC application supports all message types, and will populate messages with data in every possible field.


Test File Processing & Analysis – Once the financial institution’s screening system has processed the test file, the SAC application will analyze the results to determine if any test cases did not cause 

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