More than 3,000 financial institutions have signed up to use The Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry, SWIFT’s centralised repository that maintains a standardised set of information about financial institutions required for KYC compliance.
The Registry provides a secure, cost-effective KYC solution that enables banks, fund distributors and custodians to maintain and grow their correspondent network. As an industry utility, The KYC Registry is designed to help these institutions save significant time and money while meeting their KYC obligations.
“We’ve reached the tipping point in terms of industry participation in The KYC Registry,” says Bart Claeys, Head of KYC Compliance Services, SWIFT. “Collecting KYC documentation is a time-consuming and expensive process that uses considerable staff resources. The KYC Registry tackles this challenge head on by providing an information ‘baseline’ that addresses more than 80 percent of the KYC data and documentation required to support the on-going due diligence of correspondent banking partners or the on-boarding of new relationships.”
A recent survey conducted by SWIFT suggests that while The KYC Registry is still in the ramp-up phase, it is already fulfilling its industry obligations with many customers indicating substantial cost and time-saving benefits from using it.
• With initial data consumption underway, survey respondents have confirmed they are spending, on average, 45 percent less time performing due diligence on a counterparty when using The KYC Registry.
• A number of global banks have reported that using the Registry has delivered up to a 60 percent reduction in the time it takes to perform additional due diligence, such as collecting information about the Ultimate Beneficial Owners, i.e. the people financially behind an institution, or board members.
The KYC Registry can also help smaller banks and those in high-risk markets demonstrate transparency and provide information that meets the KYC requirements of large banks and those in highly-regulated markets. This has become especially important in the context of “de-risking” trends observed in the industry, leading some banks to exit certain jurisdictions, product domains and currencies and discontinuing some of their foreign correspondent banking relationships.
The 3,000+ entities in over 200 countries and territories that now rely on The KYC Registry can instantly exchange data and documents with selected counterparties without sacrificing control over their data or who can access it. Users are not charged for contributing data to the Registry or sharing their KYC data with other banks; they pay only for the data that they consume from other institutions. In addition, 30 central banks as well as entire communities have also signed up for the service. The broad cross-section of the industry using The KYC Registry accounts for two-thirds of SWIFT message traffic.
As The KYC Registry evolves in line with new regulations and customer needs, it will grow its offering through value-added services and partnerships that enable enhanced due diligence. For example, the recently-launched KYC Adverse Media service, developed with Dow Jones, allows member institutions to access a global database of news articles and regulatory notices about their counterparties and correspondents.
“SWIFT is taking a ‘marketplace’ approach to KYC compliance, which will provide a broader, even more collaborative solution for the benefit of the financial services community,” concludes Claeys.