SWIFT Expands Global KYC For Corporates

SWIFT, KYC, know your customer, banks, corporates, global, news

SWIFT is launching its global Know Your Customer (KYC) registry to more corporate groups, SWIFT announced in a press release on Monday (Dec. 16).

The go-live for corporates was first tested with 18 groups supported by 16 financial institutions that represented more than 7,000 relationships — including BMW, Spotify and Unilever — allowing them to coordinate KYC data with international associates.

Bart Claeys, Head of KYC and Reference Data at SWIFT, said its global KYC registry offers “huge benefits to the 5,000 banks and financial institutions which are currently using it.” 

“Collaborating with banks and corporates has provided detailed insights into the current barriers to effective KYC due diligence and, through our global platform, we will continue this work to provide solutions that simplify the KYC process for all participants involved,” he added.

KYC compliance is a pain point for banks and corporates, with more than 90 percent of treasurers agreeing that it’s harder today than it was five years ago. Over half said they “reduced the number of banks they work with to avoid lengthy KYC processes.” 

Because corporates coordinate with several global banking partners, each with varying regulatory authorities, KYC data has to be offered in myriad configurations. In turn, financial institutions have to contact corporate groups for data while also looking for information from other sources. 

“KYC is a time-consuming process for us, and it is great that SWIFT has started this initiative which has led to good discussions with other corporates,” said Kristina Möller, Treasury Director at Spotify AB. “We are also happy to see that the banking community is supporting this initiative and that we are all working towards the same goal – targeting to reduce the administrative burden of KYC. This is especially interesting for us as we continue to grow and enter complex markets, where KYC can be overwhelming.”

SWIFT first started opening up its KYC Registry to corporates in February. Banks benefit, SWIFT said at the time, because they will have access to corporate information through the same central repository used for correspondent KYC checks, enabling efficient data sharing via a secure platform.