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, SWIFT opened the KYC registry to SWIFT’s corporate customers to dramatically reduce the KYC burden for corporates. Since then, both corporates and banks have been benefiting from a more streamlined process for KYC information collection.
Here is a summary of the discussion.
- Ariane Van der Eecken, Treasury Director EMEA, Avnet
- Marian Owczarzy, KYC Operations Manager, HSBC
- Delphine Masquelier, KYC Product Manager, SWIFT
The catalyst for collaboration
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. Ariane Van der Eecken, Treasury Director, EMEA, Avnet, sees SWIFT’s KYC Registry as a catalyst for discussion and collaboration between banks and corporates.
She says: “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."
Delphine Masquelier, KYC Product Manager, SWIFT, emphasises the importance of community feedback for continuing to improve the platform. “It’s very important to get feedback to make the platform as useful as possible. 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.”
Avnet needed to centralise the KYC process, the Registry helped to understand what documents are exactly needed and where requirements can be streamlined. 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.
A single view of the truth
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.
Van der Eecken continues: “Avnet needed to centralise the KYC process, the Registry helped to understand what documents are exactly needed and where requirements can be streamlined. 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.”
The implementation journey for the KYC Registry will differ for every entity, dependent on their size and scale. For Marian Owczarzy, KYC Operations Manager, HSBC, explains how the KYC Registry became a strategic priority, which really moved the implementation process along: “On our end, making it an official project helped. We wanted to use SWIFT’s KYC registry as a priority.”
On our end, making it an official project helped. We wanted to use SWIFT’s KYC registry as a priority.
He also touched on how support across the bank helped the adoption process: “Awareness across the organisation was a priority. 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 highlights 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.”
Van der Eecken echoes this sentiment: “The KYC refresh notifications will allow our entities to always be up-to-date. For example, [flagging] an expiry date on a document. This indeed will be a change in process management.”
Looking to the future
Masquelier adds that 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.
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.
We have seen in the first few months that this process is more standardised and streamlined because of the KYC Registry.
Van der Eecken concludes that the KYC challenges corporates face are shared across the industry, but says 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.”
Masquelier brought the panel to a close by sharing a simple message directed at entities not yet on the KYC Registry: “Talk to your banks and SWIFT – the set-up can be quick. Just reach out.”