Simplified Due Diligence (SDD)

Brief Definition and Origin:

Simplified Due Diligence (SDD) is a streamlined approach to due diligence that applies to low-risk customers and transactions in the financial sector. It emerged from the need to balance stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and compliance measures with efficient customer onboarding and transaction processes, particularly under frameworks recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Current Usage and Importance:

SDD is currently utilized in banking, payments, card schemes, money transfers, trade, cryptocurrency, and broader financial services to expedite the verification process for entities deemed low-risk. Its importance lies in facilitating quicker business interactions while maintaining a level of scrutiny to deter financial crimes.

Stakeholders and Implementation:

The primary users of SDD include financial institutions, payment service providers, and fintech companies. Implementation involves assessing the risk profile of customers or transactions to determine eligibility for SDD, which requires less documentation and fewer verification steps. Challenges may arise in accurately categorizing risk levels and adapting to varying regulatory standards across jurisdictions.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages:


  • Increases operational efficiency, improves customer experience by reducing onboarding times, and allocates compliance resources more effectively.


  • Potentially overlooks subtle signs of risk in low-risk categorizations, and may be exploited if risk assessment criteria are not accurately defined or applied.

Future Outlook:

The future of SDD is likely to see further integration of technology, such as AI and machine learning, to improve risk assessment algorithms and automate the SDD process, enhancing both accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, evolving regulatory landscapes and the rise of digital banking and cryptocurrency platforms will necessitate continuous adaptation and refinement of SDD criteria and processes.

Further Reading:

For more in-depth information on Simplified Due Diligence and its application in the financial sector, the FATF guidelines provide a comprehensive framework and are available at This resource is essential for understanding the global standards for AML practices, including SDD procedures.

This concise overview offers a snapshot of Simplified Due Diligence within the global financial landscape, aimed at readers seeking an efficient yet thorough understanding of SDD’s role, implications, and future direction.

This page was last updated on March 13, 2024.

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