Skip to main content
Header logo

The global provider
of secure financial messaging services

UAE Banks Federation partners with SWIFT to lead industry discussion about global financial crime regulations

UAE Banks Federation partners with SWIFT to lead industry discussion about global financial crime regulations

1 April 2015

The UAE Banks Federation welcomed more than 65 senior bankers to a briefing at the Federation's headquarters in Abu Dhabi about how correspondent banks can comply with KYC regulations.

Dubai, 1 April 2015 - SWIFT joined the UAE Banks Federation to bring together senior representatives from financial institutions across the region to look at the impact of global regulations and to discuss the adoption of global best practice.

Nasser Sarris, General Manager of the UAE Banks Federation, who gave the welcome address, says: "Financial crime is a growing threat to the global economy and is a challenge that must be met by all financial institutions. The Federation sees the promotion of insightful discussion on such matters as a key part of its industry role and we are happy to partner with SWIFT to help our members find the most efficient solutions to common problems."

More than 65 delegates joined the meeting, including senior financial institution and transaction bankers as well as compliance experts. The discussion addressed the challenges faced by the region's banks as they manage increasingly onerous regulatory requirements aimed at eliminating money laundering and terrorist financing. 

A particularly hot topic for discussion was so-called KYC - know-your-customer - regulations. These apply to banks in the same way as they do to retail customers and represent a huge operational challenge for banks. Failure to comply can be costly in terms of reputational damage as well as risking punitive fines.

KYC regulations require banks to collect and maintain up-to-date information about every institution that they deal with. Doing this and performing due diligence checks on correspondent banking partners is costly and time -consuming, and the effort is duplicated by individual banks around the world.

Sido Bestani, Head of MENA & Turkey, SWIFT, says: "Banking relationships are being terminated around the world because of a reduced risk appetite and growing concerns about KYC transparency. For banks, managing the data and processes required to comply with regulations on a bilateral basis is inefficient and costly. This is why SWIFT has developed its KYC Registry. This can help banks to reduce KYC-related costs and mitigate compliance-related risks in a simple, secure and standards-driven way.

SWIFT has a long relationship with the UAE Banks Federation, including the hosting such joint events on topics of interest, and sees it as a pivotal partner in the region. Speaking about the briefing, Bestani adds: "These kinds of events are a crucial platform for informed discussion and a vital forum for industry colleagues to share experiences. We are therefore delighted to partner with the UAE Banks Federation and the broader SWIFT community as they look for common solutions to industry-wide, global challenges such as KYC regulations."

About SWIFT's KYC Registry

SWIFT's KYC Registry makes it easy to exchange KYC information with your counterparties.

  • It promotes transparency and best practice by providing a KYC information standard endorsed by 12 of the world's largest banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, CommerzBank, Deutsche Bank, Erste Group, HSBC, ING, JP Morgan, Raiffeisen Bank, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered.
  • It will contain hard-to-acquire KYC information, such as ultimate beneficiary and shareholder details.
  • SWIFT performs fact-based controls of all information in The KYC Registry to check for completeness, accuracy and validity. Documents are date-stamped for clarity and peace of mind.

The KYC Registry helps users reduce cost and complexity and is available under community based pricing models.

  • There is no charge to contribute and store your institution's KYC information in the Registry.
  • While contributing information is free, accessing information about other banks has a per unit cost. For inquiries about cost to access information, please contact SWIFT directly.

How do I take part?

Please contribute your bank's information through the following links.

SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative that provides the communications platform, products and services to connect more than 10,800 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in over 200 countries and territories. SWIFT enables its users to exchange automated, standardised financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating operational inefficiencies. SWIFT also brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest.

About UAE Banks Federation
Established in 1982, the UAE Banks Federation, a professional representative body comprising 50 member banks operating in the UAE. The Federation advocates all banks' interests, and enhances cooperation and coordination among them, in order to promote and upgrade the UAE's banking industry for the benefit of the banking sector, its customers, and the national economy.

The UAE Banks Federation's mission and objectives are focused on developing and representing the interests of the member banks and defending their rights. It facilitates the exchange of banking, financial and monetary information in the regional and international fields, and coordinates cooperation around banking procedures and in the areas of legal, technical and administrative affairs. The federation plays a major role in raising public awareness around the beneficial role and distinctive financial, economic and social contribution of the banks to the UAE.

The Federation has an Advisory Council consisting of Bank CEOs which oversees the implementation of the policies, follows up on UBF's activities and makes necessary decisions, a steering committee and nine specialized technical committees, covering and discussing all relevant banking issues.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter: @swiftcommunity and LinkedIn: SWIFT

For more information, please contact
Randa Mazzawi or Mayssa Makhlouf on:
Tel: +971 4 3403005