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Searching for standardisation in KYC

As the global requirements for customer due diligence become increasingly complex, there has never been a better time for innovative KYC solutions that offer new efficiencies. In December 2019, CTMfile reported on SWIFT opening its KYC registry to corporate customers. This was designed to ensure that both corporates and banks could benefit from a more streamlined process for KYC information collection.

In a recent webinar hosted by SWIFT, the use of the KYC Registry for corporate due diligence was discussed by Ariane Van der Eecken, Treasury Director EMEA at global technology solutions provider Avnet, Marian Owczarzy, KYC Operations Manager at HSBC, and Delphine Masquelier, SWIFT's KYC Product Manager.

Getting everyone in the same room 

One of the biggest headaches for both banks and corporates has been a lack of global standards for KYC documentation. Corporates often have to provide similar information in different formats, which adds to the administrative burden. Van der Eecken commented that SWIFT’s KYC registry as a catalyst for discussion and collaboration between banks and corporates:

“When it comes to standardisation of information, having everyone in the same room discussing how to do this is important. This discussion has helped us progress to a more harmonised KYC process."

The importance of community feedback in order to continue to improve the platform was also highlighted. “It’s very important to get feedback to make the platform as useful as possible," noted SWIFT's Masquelier. "Through listening to our customers, we found out how various standardised fields could be tweaked to help banks and corporates get the most value from the Registry.”

Simplifying KYC visibility

The importance of a universally accessible database is crucial to navigating the complex world of AML and KYC. The KYC registry offers corporates a single platform to host their documentation and single view of all their KYC information across the globe.  

“Avnet needed to centralise the KYC process, the Registry helped to understand what documents are exactly needed and where requirements can be streamlined," Avnet's Van der Eecken explained. "With entities having multiple banking relationships, Avnet needed a single platform for KYC that gives an overview of what information has been shared and with whom.” 

An organisation-wide effort

The implementation journey for the KYC Registry will differ for every entity, dependent on their size and scale. HSBC's Owczarzy explained that the KYC Registry became a strategic priority, which really moved the implementation process along. He also touched on how support across the bank helped the adoption process. 

“Awareness across the organisation was a priority," Owczarzy said. "All the relevant parties across the bank were aware. Key stakeholders would be able to speak about the KYC Registry with their customers. On a high level it means better customer experience overall, on a practical level it means less customer outreach. If a customer fills in all the fields, customer outreach will be absolutely minimal.” 

Ozczarzy also highlighted how the Registry reduces case-loads within HSBC: “Removing the burden of exchanging information allows our relationship managers to focus on the customer as opposed to their documentation. In order for this to work, the first step would be for the customer to publish their profile. They also need to refresh their information. This must continue as we move into the future.”

“The KYC refresh notifications will allow our entities to always be up-to-date," added Van der Eecken. "For example, [flagging] an expiry date on a document. This indeed will be a change in process management.”

Proof is in the pudding 

The ultimate success of the Registry in streamlining KYC processes relies on it working in tandem with other initiatives. 

“By keeping a collaborative mindset and the idea of interoperability at the forefront, we will be able to create a more complete KYC Registry," commented SWIFT's Masquelier. 

The KYC Registry is currently open to banks as well as corporates connected to SWIFT, including all their non-connected legal entities. SWIFT is also looking to extend to other segments in the financial industry, such as non-bank financial institutions to further encourage the standardisation of requirements. 

The KYC challenges corporates face are shared across the industry, but Avnet's Van der Eecken said that the Registry is already making a difference: “We have seen in the first few months that this process is more standardised and streamlined because of the KYC Registry.”

For entities not yet on the KYC Registry, Masquelier concluded with a simple message: “Talk to your banks and SWIFT – the set-up can be quick. Just reach out.”

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