SWIFT recently organised a Know Your Customer (KYC) roadshow in 10 countries across the Middle East and North Africa to look at the impact of KYC regulations on the banking and financial community and to highlight solutions that reduce the cost of compliance.
Against the backdrop of increasing global regulatory requirements, SWIFT has established a dedicated Compliance Services division and created a range of products and services around Sanctions and KYC aimed at supporting the financial industry as it works to address the global financial crime challenge. The KYC Registry is a centralised utility for the collection and distribution of standard information, which is required by all banks as part of their due diligence processes. Already, entities in more than 140 countries have joined The KYC Registry, which demonstrates clear momentum and support for this community-driven financial crime compliance initiative.
The briefings were organised in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Kuwait, Tunis, Casablanca, Istanbul, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and Algiers. Featuring international and local speakers, they were attended by more than 550 senior representatives from the region’s leading financial and banking communities. The objective of the series has been to create a unique forum for banks and financial entities to share their experiences and requirements around KYC, to promote greater understanding and to discuss global best practice in the space.
Based on a collaborative, industry-based approach and developed by SWIFT as a user-driven initiative, The KYC Registry helps banks to manage compliance challenges and reduce the costs associated with implementing KYC-related regulations. It offers a simple, secure way to exchange a standardised set of information for correspondent banking due diligence. Banks contribute an agreed baseline set of data and documentation for validation by SWIFT, which the contributors can then share with their counterparties. Each bank preserves ownership of its own information, as well as control over which other institutions can view it.
Sido Bestani, Head of MENA & Turkey, SWIFT, says: “Compliance with financial crime regulation is one of the major challenges facing banks globally. By offering a central, global KYC Registry, SWIFT is helping the financial community as a whole to mitigate risk and reduce KYC-related costs, enabling banks to better manage their compliance processes. The aim of our roadshow is to keep the financial community in the region aware of the changing regulatory environment and to outline the benefits of The KYC Registry. As a non-profit cooperative organisation, we are committed to developing solutions to shared challenges that benefit the entire community. The KYC Registry delivers on this commitment.”
The KYC Registry is the latest in a growing suite of financial crime compliance solutions from SWIFT. The portfolio already includes Sanctions Screening and Sanctions Testing tools, and is complemented by Compliance Analytics. Sanctions Screening enables banks to easily and cost-effectively screen transactions against global watch lists while Sanctions Testing enables them to gauge the efficacy of their own sanctions screening infrastructure. Compliance Analytics helps financial institutions to analyse their message traffic on the SWIFT network, enabling them to detect unusual patterns and possible anomalies in behaviour.