SWIFT has created a financial crime compliance services unit headed up by Luc Meurant. The expanding team is tasked with launching SWIFT’s Know Your Customer (KYC)
Registry shared services platform, which was announced at its Sibos 2013 trade show earlier, and with building other solutions to serve the growing financial crime compliance needs of financial institutions (FIs) worldwide.
SWIFT’s existing sanctions screening utility service which the collective already runs for its member banks and others will be part of the new financial crime compliance services unit’s remit is expected to act as a template for the rollout of its KYC Registry offering in 2014. It will face competition from other shared services’ platforms such as the KYC Exchange Net rival offering – writes Neil Ainger.
The SWIFT KYC Registry will be a centralised utility for the collection and distribution of standard information required by banks as part of their Know Your Customer due diligence process. It is intended to cut banks’ compliance costs for non-proprietary, non-value adding KYC procedures and as such fits in with the new unit’s remit to offer cheaper collaboration services to FIs with economies-of-scale savings available to aggregated flows.
SWIFT’s KYC Registry will provide banks with access to a central repository of up-to-date institutional information collected by SWIFT from participating banks. SWIFT will host and manage the utility, verifying the completeness, validity and accuracy of the data provided, while member banks will retain ownership of and responsibility for their own information. The KYC Registry will initially focus on correspondent banking requirements, which is the most urgent challenge facing the industry, but SWIFT is likely to subsequently extend the service into other areas.
News Analysis: SWIFT Targeting Financial Crime Arena
Commenting on the SWIFT collective’s plans for the year, Gottfried Leibbrandt, chief executive officer (CEO) of SWIFT, said: “Compliance with financial crime regulation is one of the major challenges that banks face globally, and customers have been asking us to provide industry-wide solutions to streamline their associated processes, cut cost and reduce risk. SWIFT is meeting that challenge with the KYC Registry, which leverages our core strengths of community, our network, and expertise in standards.”
The head of the new financial crime compliance services unit, Luc Meurant, who is tasked with delivering this new vision and the KYC Registry platform, commented that: “Collecting and maintaining up-to-date information about other institutions and performing due diligence checks on correspondent banking partners are time-consuming and duplicative tasks for banks. By developing a central, global KYC Registry, SWIFT can help banks reduce KYC-related costs and mitigate compliance-related risks, enabling them to better manage their financial crime compliance processes.”
The new unit will also be responsible for SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening service; its Sanctions Testing toolset, which is a hosted platform providing assurance of the effectiveness of sanctions filters; and all other related financial crime-related compliance processes. A new business intelligence (BI) compliance reporting service is also expected to be announced soon as part of SWIFT’s drive to gain traction and business in the anti-financial crime tech arena.
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