More and more large corporations, small businesses, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers are moving into coworking spaces. Coworking is mainstream! But it is also the case that malicious individuals and organisations have now heard of coworking and see coworking spaces as a useful alternative.
Especially in the post-lockdown, hybrid officing world, where presence in the space from 9-5 every day is no longer the norm, coworking can look like an ideal approach for both good and not so good companies
There is also the question of companies poaching information or employees from one another. Coworking spaces often make use of common software programs, shared internet access and even open office space that may contain critical hardcopy files.
Criminal organisations may try to join a coworking space to obtain a credible address, either with the intention of accessing crucial information of others or or concealing activities such as human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism or drug running.
Anyone managing a coworking space needs to be aware of the requirements of anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations and laws specific to the country in which the coworking space is operating.
The legal requirements have tended to become universal across major financial institutions and countries within Europe, Canada and the USA.
To fulfil these legal requirements, certain input data is required of each person signing up for a coworking space. However, this can be a difficult battle, when factoring in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protects the privacy of an individual’s data.
This task many times falls to the compliance officer, who has to keep the information secure and perform regular check-ups to ensure there have been no critical changes in ownerships etc.
At first, it seems a simple process of verifying that a person or organisation exists and that it has no questionable areas or business descriptions, such as ‘temporary employment’– which is often a front for human trafficking.
However, a person who has been prosecuted for fraud is not likely to announce this and criminal records are not easily obtainable for the general public.
New tools for coworking operators
Step by step, the Velvet Platform AML and KYC modules that help a coworking space gatekeeper (or any other businesses with similar requirements), identify potential high-risk applicants and simplify the regulatory environment for international business.
These modules offer compliance tools, which automate the process of GDPR compliance, AML/KYC compliance; and payment tools, which solve the problems of online identification, payments, and control of the process for online and cross border deals.
Using automation, it enables the completion of repetitive and complex processes which are vital for the resilience of a business while also acknowledging the fact that automation cannot solve every problem encountered by small businesses — and over-automation can make the problems worse..
Velvet Platform offers a high touch service, with real human contact at vital points along the way and a dedicated, qualified and experienced compliance officer to lead the way out of the regulatory muddle for businesses that don’t fit the standard mould envisioned by regulators when they laid down the AML/KYC rules.
Coworking has to comply with the same rules that the banks do when it comes to identity verification and anti-fraud rules, and the GDPR rules apply across the board.
However, most coworking spaces do not have the same resources the banks do. Much of it is done by hand — which is labor intensive and expensive. It can be and is automated, but no one was offering this service in a way that was accessible to small businesses and freelancers.
This solution will change the approach to some of the essential things in the financial market – personal data and security of coworking spaces.
Safe and automated environment accessible at the management level of coworking spaces, will also dramatically help the end customers – coworking space users.
Watch this space for more solutions, as the Velvet Community intends to deliver more possibilities and more exceptional service to shared business community professionals.