The Russian SWIFT National User and Member Group, ROSSWIFT, has been given approval by the Central Bank of the Russia Federation (CBRF) to roll out SWIFT’s Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry to Russian financial institutions.
In a letter sent by the CBRF to ROSSWIFT, it explains ‘…Bank of Russia considers the usage of SWIFT KYC Registry database acceptable as an additional source of information if financial organizations ensure meeting the requirements of Russian legislation on AML/CFT, which include validation of the data received within identification process’.
Currently, over 550 leading Russian banks and organizations are users of SWIFT. Russia is ranked second by number of SWIFT users after the United States, and as a consequence of its impressive traffic growth over the past five years, has acceded to the SWIFT Board
“I am delighted with this news, and am sure The KYC Registry will provide time and cost savings to Russian financial institutions looking to improve their KYC processes. I would like to thank ROSSWIFT for its continued dedicated work in deploying this strategically important service, leveraging its reach and intimacy with the network of SWIFT users in Russia,” stated Matthieu de Heering, SWIFT’s Head of Russia, CIS & Mongolia.
12 banks in Russia have already signed up to The KYC Registry, including Promsvyazbank, one of Russia’s very largest banks. “We are pleased to be working with SWIFT and contributing to The KYC Registry. If more institutions can sign up then it will increase efficiency and reduce costs, bringing benefits to the industry as a whole,” said Mr Bereza Vladimir, head of the SWIFT department of Promsvyazbank.
Speaking at the SWIFT Moscow Business Forum and ROSSWIFT AGM in May, which attracted over 420 delegates, ROSSWIFT Executive Director, Mr. Roman Chernov said: “Compliance is clearly very high on the agenda in Russia, with challenges and solutions being discussed in relation to FATCA, anti-money laundering and combatting financial crime. We are happy to have been selected by SWIFT to deploy The KYC Registry in Russia, as we believe it can contribute to an increase in transparency and standardisation in the reporting of know your customer information, as well as, crucially, know your customer’s customer. The KYC Procedures workshop on June 24th that ROSSWIFT is organizing in Moscow with the National Financial Market Council will be another great opportunity for our compliance professionals to hear and exchange views about worldwide best practices in this field, including the KYC Registry of course.”
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 retains ownership of its own information, as well as control over which other institutions can view it. Banks are not charged for data contribution or for using the Registry to share their KYC information with other banks. To maximise the Registry's benefits, SWIFT has made data consumption free in 2015 for banks that contribute their own KYC information to the Registry and promote it to their correspondents.