The SWIFT network is set to extend its KYC solution, which is currently used by 5,000 banks for correspondent banking activities, to companies. It aims to offer the 2,000 companies connected to the network a structured information exchange solution – one that is already used by partner banks for customer verification processes – by the end of 2019. Interview with Marc Delbaere, SWIFT’s Head of Corporates & Trade.
– Can you tell us about SWIFT’s KYC4Corporates project?
– Marc Delbaere, SWIFT’s Head of Corporates & Trade: Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures represent a significant workload that, five years ago, led SWIFT to develop a solution to facilitate the sharing of standardized information between banks as part of their bilateral correspondent relationships. This platform, called KYC Registry, is currently used by 5,000 banks. The KYC4Corporates project uses this solution to help companies reduce their compliance costs.
In fact, the information that banks require from their corporate clients follows a structure that can be standardized in the same way as in interbank transactions. Last year we worked with the world’s 15 largest banks using our bank-corporate messaging network (SCORE) to form a working base covering the main KYC needs in multiple jurisdictions.
We aim to offer the 2,000 companies connected to the SWIFT network a structured information exchange solution – one that is already used by partner banks for customer verification processes – by the end of 2019.
– Why limit your solution to companies connected to SWIFT?
– We only intend to offer the service initially to the 2,000 SWIFT corporate users, since most of them are groups with an international profile that use several banks. Our initiative is not intended to compete with banking portals set up for mid-cap companies, nor with solutions implemented nationally or those developed by publishers, which target other market segments.
Our project is ambitious and will be transformative for the members of our community. Either SWIFT manages to create a market dynamic and it works, or success is not there and we will stop. It’s important for us to have the right level of commitment in the coming year. Our working group will now open up to companies to ensure that the solution meets their expectations from the outset and to help us prepare for further developments with all stakeholders.
– What features will KYC4Corporates offer?
– The platform will enable corporates to exchange standardized information with their banks covering five types of data, from identification to taxation. In an environment that complies with SWIFT network security standards, ownership and control of information will remain in the hands of the corporate entity.
The solution will include a basic data validation feature by SWIFT. Initially, the solution will guarantee banks that the information on file comes from the correct source and that it is properly structured. In a second step, SWIFT will focus on data validation.
The key point is that we will set up a flexible development force that will make it possible to deliver a solution that can be integrated by both companies and banks. Based on users’ feedback and needs, we will launch new features in the future, such as a push mode for documentation updates.
The solution will not solve every issue from day one, but it will simplify many parts of the KYC processes for transnational groups. We have an important role to play as a community.