KYC for Corporates things eventually move
No one in the corporate treasury community would dare to claim KYC’s are not a growing challenge. For the whole financial industry, the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes
are repetitive, lengthy, uncertain, never-ending and often highly manual. However,
they are necessary to start and then to maintain a bank relationship.
SWIFT has been backed by the success of its KYC register for correspondent banking. Therefore, it thought, couple of months ago to launch tests and pilots on corporates. Couple of months after the last pilots, SWIFT Board eventually decided to duplicate this service for its corporate customers and users, as well as for large MNC’s. Treasury Associations can only applaud such a great initiative. Who else was better placed to serve the whole industry on KYC data exchanges? This “KYC registry” was launched in 2014 to enable banks to use a common platform. It seems that today 5000+ banks across the world use this information platform. SWIFT board has now decided to offer this highly expected service to all large corporations and to corporate SWIFT users in the coming months. For the corporates which accepted to be pilots for this project it is a great satisfaction and it pays the efforts. It is fair to say that standardization is still lacking on KYC side. It is important to remind that the worst issue remains the exchange means used between parties to share pieces of information. It is precisely the way of exchanging documents, which is archaic, obsolete and risky, that causes problems. SWIFT can help standardizing documents, defining comprehensive lists of documents to be delivered, store them and exchange them via a secured SWIFT messaging system. It is the dream of any treasurer that may come true. For MNC’s which deal with dozens of banks, across the world, in multiple formats and with specific demands, it would
be a significant improvement, a revolution in bank relationship management and a gain of time and money, for both sides (i.e. sell & buy sides). For corporates who want to learn about this project, please visit for more information.
EACT and other national associations are supporting this great initiative and decision. SWIFT has created a Working Group to participate to the design of the registry and to validate the solution. They also created an Engagement Group of Promoters to support the bilateral exchange of requirements and planned features between participants and SWIFT to enable a broader group to participate actively in the development of the KYC registry. Such a solution will bring more security in exchanging documents and give access to the same secure central utility, eliminating duplication and inefficiencies. We all hope to have a simplified KYC experience, even if some of our peers (i.e. large MNC’s) are not (yet) SWIFT users. If we wanted to compare KYC’s process to the space conquest, it would be like astronauts first step onto the Moon. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, it would be a small step for the banking relationship, but a giant leap for the treasurers.