Swift Launches KYC Registry

Terry Flanagan

Swift, a provider of financial messaging, has launched a global Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry, a centralized utility for the collection and distribution of standard information required by banks as part of their due diligence processes.

Based on a collaborative industry-wide approach, the new utility will help banks to manage compliance challenges and reduce the high costs associated with implementing KYC-related regulations.

Swift KYC Registry is currently under development and will go live in 2014. The service 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 may subsequently extend the service.

“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,” said Swift CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt. “Swift is meeting that challenge with the KYC Registry, which leverages our core strengths: our community, our network, our expertise in standards, and our track record of operational excellence.”

With financial crime compliance now at the top of the international regulatory agenda, SWIFT has created a dedicated Compliance Services unit to manage its growing compliance services offering. Luc Meurant has been appointed to lead this new unit and is building a team of sanctions, KYC and anti-money-laundering (AML) industry experts to build solutions serving the needs of financial institutions worldwide.

“KYC compliance presents a major challenge for many banks,” said Luc Meurant, head of banking markets and compliance services at Swift. “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 manage better their financial crime compliance processes.”

In addition to the KYC Registry, in 2014 Swift will introduce a business intelligence for compliance service to assist banks in monitoring compliance risks by looking at their Swift activity globally, and comparing it with overall traffic on the Swift network.

Swift’s compliance services portfolio includes Sanctions Screening, an off-the-shelf screening solution that helps institutions comply with multiple sanctions lists; and Sanctions Testing, a hosted platform that provides assurance of the effectiveness and increases the efficiency of sanctions filters and related financial crime compliance processes.

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