Tackling KYC Challenges: A New Solution for Corporates
By Marc Delbaere, Global Head of Corporates and Trade, SWIFT
The demands of meeting know your customer (KYC) obligations are intensifying – and we are aware that KYC is one of the top three challenges facing corporate treasurers when handling their banking relationships.
It’s not currently easy for banks and corporates to share the compliance-related information needed to establish or maintain a business relationship. The existing processes are cumbersome, manual and repetitive – and ultimately inefficient and frustrating for all involved.
The rising challenge
As regulatory pressure on banks intensifies, corporates, in turn, also feel it because the volume of KYC information required increases, adding to their workload.
Most corporates maintain multiple banking relationships, spanning numerous jurisdictions. KYC-related policies also vary between banks and, as an added complication, there is no global standard.
Having to establish and maintain relationships with several different banks, across various regions, inevitably leads to the fragmentation of processes, systems and information. At KYC level, this means that data is often scattered across different sources, is incomplete or out of date, and banks repeatedly ask corporate customers to update KYC information.
Although banks and regulators have indicated a willingness to move towards standardised KYC requirements and align internal processes, there is still a long way to go. A number of initiatives aimed at improving the process on a global scale have come and gone. Other local solutions and bank-specific products are available to reduce the KYC workload for certain regions and banks. However, they don’t cater for global corporates which conduct business outside these locations and have relationships with multiple banking partners.
Taking the initiative
Corporates want easy access to banking services. While many corporate treasurers and finance managers have centralised their operations, these systems still lack the simplicity, visibility and control treasurers require to support their companies’ international business needs and aspirations.
KYC poses industry-wide challenges – and it will continue to do so unless we take proactive steps to cultivate change. Industry collaboration is vital in this journey, with corporates and banks working together to map out the road ahead.
SWIFT sees this as an opportunity to drive and support transformation for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
Building on success
SWIFT is a community of members sharing common priorities, motivations and goals. And with a truly global network, it is ideally positioned as an enabler for increased efficiency in the KYC domain.
The SWIFT KYC Registry for corporates is a new central repository for standardised KYC information that will address current inefficiencies. It provides a secure self-service repository, simplifying the way that multi-banked corporates exchange and maintain their KYC due diligence details with their banks.
This new solution, set to launch later this year, is designed specifically for corporates. Our unique and well-established KYC Registry is already delivering huge benefits to banks, with a standard agreed by the community and a secure platform enabling efficient data sharing. The KYC Registry for corporates is a natural next step.
Going forward, corporates will have control over who accesses their information, and banks will be able to obtain up-to-date information as and when they need it. This self-service model will ease on-boarding and review procedures resulting in faster, and more efficient, ways of working.
Initially only available to SWIFT-connected corporates, the KYC Registry will be extended to all corporates requiring a standard, multi-bank solution for KYC on a global scale.