Enabling smoother Know Your Customer (KYC) processes for corporates

SWIFT’s KYC Registry now enables corporates to efficiently manage and share KYC data with their banking partners across the globe.

Following a successful testing period with 18 leading corporate groups and 16 global banks, our market leading KYC Registry will now enable SWIFT-connected corporate groups to manage and share KYC data with their banking partners across the globe.

Shayan Rafi, Acting Treasurer for Saudi Chevron Phillips Company commented: “It’s very positive to see SWIFT continue to invest resources into solving the KYC problem for corporate treasurers. We have enjoyed exchanging ideas with banks and corporates and providing insights from our perspective over the past year to help shape this solution, and look forward to reaping the benefits of SWIFT’s KYC Registry for years to come.”

Enabling smoother Know Your Customer (KYC) processes for corporatesEnabling smoother Know Your Customer (KYC) processes for corporates

The rising challenge of KYC compliance

KYC continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the compliance space, both for financial institutions and corporates. In a study carried out with Eurofinance, over 90% of treasurers report that responding to KYC requests is more challenging today than it was five years ago. In addition, over 50% reduced the number of banks they work with to avoid lengthy KYC processes, negatively impacting banking relationships.

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Last update: 
5 December 2019

Solving the KYC Conundrum

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"KYC is a time-consuming process for us, and it is great that SWIFT has started this initiative which has led to good discussions with other corporates. We are also happy to see that the banking community is supporting this initiative and that we are all working towards the same goal – targeting to reduce the administrative burden of KYC. This is especially interesting for us as we continue to grow and enter complex markets, where KYC can be overwhelming." said Kristina Möller, Treasury Director at Spotify AB.

Corporate groups work with multiple banking partners across the globe, many of which are in different regulatory jurisdictions. This means that corporate treasurers have to provide KYC data in multiple formats, often through bilateral exchanges, in order to meet the regulatory requirements of each partner. This fragmentation and lack of standardisation in KYC compliance processes is very often costly, time-consuming and inefficient.

Terence Yong, Managing Director and Head, Western MNCs, Institutional Banking Group, DBS said, “KYC has been a necessary step in banking and it’s time that this process became more efficient. The availability of the KYC Registry is very timely for DBS. We have embarked on an initiative to simplify and digitalise the KYC interactions between large corporates and DBS. Through the KYC Registry, we hope to eliminate duplication and voluminous manual uploads. While the regulatory standards for KYC compliance across Asia are demanding and have variations, this does not preclude us from using available digital platforms to ease interactions with customers. DBS is proud to be the first Asian bank on the KYC Registry for Corporates working group, as we see this as an important enabler to broaden the relationships with our customers, by having more time for enabling business and less time spent chasing for documents.”

Banking partners on the other hand, have to reach out to their corporate customers for information and search for data across multiple sources, which is often incomplete or out of date. In many cases, they are forced to repeatedly follow up with existing customers as part of regular KYC reviews, which is cumbersome and can place strain on relationships.

A new way forward

Established in 2014, SWIFT’s KYC Registry simplifies the process by providing access to a secure, central platform for banks, and now corporates, to share KYC data with their banking partners. It enables corporates to structure their KYC data in accordance with a standardised format, agreed by banks and corporates across the globe.

Rosanna Summerville, Manager Global Transaction Banking & Processes at Unilever commented: “By participating in SWIFT’s working group, we were able to collaborate with our banking partners and other corporate groups to address challenges faced by both sides of the KYC process. The result means we can now upload our data in a standardised format to SWIFT’s KYC Registry, reducing the need to provide data in multiple formats to each of our banking partners, who in turn will no longer have to request KYC data every time they need it, delivering efficiencies for us both.”

With SWIFT’s KYC Registry, corporates remain in control of their data, ensuring compliance with data privacy rules. They can decide which banks have access to their KYC data and having the ability to update their records in real-time.

Through our global platform, KYC Registry, we will continue this work to provide solutions which simplify the KYC process for all participants involved, both banks and corporates.

Bart Claeys, Head of KYC and Reference Data

Bart Claeys, Head of KYC and Reference Data at SWIFT said: “Our global KYC registry is already delivering huge benefits to the 5,000 banks and financial institutions which are currently using it, and we are excited to extend these benefits to SWIFT’s community of corporate groups. It will speed up corporate payments, while providing the assurance of being fully compliant with KYC requirements. Collaborating with banks and corporates has provided detailed insights into the current barriers to effective KYC due diligence and, through our global platform, we will continue this work to provide solutions which simplify the KYC process for all participants involved.”

KYC compliance plays a critical role in real-time, cross-border payments, facilitating greater levels of trust, transparency and collaboration, while mitigating risk. By sharing information in a standardised format, corporates and banks will save significant amounts of time and resources.

“The Registry has been adopted by over 5,000 banks across the globe to reduce complexity and accelerate KYC,” said Jimmy Zhang, Corporate Banking Manager at Pepper Financial Services Group. The extension of the KYC Registry to corporates demonstrates SWIFT’s continued commitment to this space. We are already seeing the benefits of a simpler and more secure way to manage our KYC data and we will be continuing to support future developments.”

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Solving the KYC Conundrum

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