"Know your customer", or KYC, is not something that usually sets pulses racing. It is, however, a mainstay of banks' compliance processes, and though it can be a long, demanding process, it is a necessary one. With anti-money laundering (AML) regulation increasingly under the spotlight, corporate treasurers and their banking partners have to dedicate significant time and effort to getting this process right.
Multi-bank corporates now have secure access to SWIFT's online portal for exchanging KYC information, freeing up time for bankers and corporate treasurers.
" This digital KYC transformation initiative represents a significant step forward for corporate clients, and is a reference of co-sponsorship between the Bank's Business and Compliance, in cooperation with ITO [IT Operations] and with the full support of the top management of the Bank. "
The process is undergoing rapid change. SWIFT, the standard-bearer for financial transaction communication worldwide, created in 2014 its global KYC Registry for correspondent banks and, based on the positive experience in the bank community, has just extended it to corporates. Mutualisation, standardisation and SWIFT's quality assurance service allows for a significant reduction of bilateral exchanges with the bank's counterparts, helping to reduce the lead-time for the KYC process.
Rebecca De Cuyper, SWIFT KYC Registry initiative lead on behalf of BNP Paribas, explains that "the positive client feedback on the concept helped BNP Paribas in its decision to actively support the platform's scope extension. We are doing this by seeking alignment with other banks, contributing to standardisation and advising on SWIFT KYC Registry's strategy. The global KYC solution looks to drastically simplify and digitalise the exchange of KYC-related information, which should significantly improve the everyday experience of corporates and banks. "
SWIFT KYC Registry will be compatible with BNP Paribas' Welcome interface, feeding the bank's 'One KYC for Corporates' internal repository and significantly improving corporate-bank interaction and experience. "This digital KYC transformation initiative represents a significant step forward for corporate clients, and is a reference of co-sponsorship between the Bank's Business and Compliance, in cooperation with ITO [IT Operations] and with the full support of the top management of the bank," says Bruno d'Illiers, BNP Paribas Group sponsor, Global Head CIB Operations.
SWIFT, a cooperative of banks trusted for more than 45 years with a presence in more than 200 countries worldwide , is the natural partner to create governance around the initiative. "SWIFT's global footprint is a decisive advantage," says Philippe Frizé, Compliance sponsor, Head of KYC Domain. "Moreover, unlike some startup proposals, we believe client data sharing is better organised in a non-commercial organisation like SWIFT".
SWIFT KYC Registry's common global standard for Corporates is the result of the extensive collaborative efforts of 36 large international banks and Corporates. With a major part of each client bank's KYC policy requirements covered, it marks a significant milestone in enhancing client experience and operational efficiency.
Today, more than 5,500 bank entities have registered worldwide. In order to optimise the adoption and enlarge the platform rapidly to non-SWIFT-connected multi-bank corporates, it is key that the KYC information collection teams and bankers redirect their bank and corporate counterparts to the KYC Registry, by encouraging them to subscribe the KYC Registry and contributing with their own information.