A while ago, I mulled on the meaning on the phrase “due diligence”. My mullings came back to bite me this week as I leafed through the Spectator magazine and spotted Dot Wordsworth’s column. Dot writes about the sources, meanings and etymology of words, and she has finally tackled “due diligence”. As I did, she quickly spotted that the phrase has devotional roots, but notes that it is now used to mean checks done ahead of a course of action – often the purchase of a business, as in her example, but in our AML arena, more commonly the taking on of new clients (or of new activity by existing clients).
What caught my eye about Dot’s musings was her observation that “if you don’t do your due diligence, you deserve to be stung”. I certainly think that this attitude is common with AML: if you don’t do the sensible checks, you have only yourself to blame if (when) you end up laundering money and/or being fined by the regulator for your lackadaisical attitude.