Monday, 3 December 2007

What is KYC and what does it stand for?

To enhance my knowledge on the subject I engaged in a few discussions with some professionals on KYC. I realized that very few people have detailed knowledge on the subject. Given the increased need for the implementation of KYC, I decided to share some basic information on the subject.

The term KYC – Know Your Customer means that financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies are obligated to record information on their customers and to check the plausibility of the information entered. The basis for KYC is endorsed by Article 8 of the 3rd EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, 12.5 of the Banking (General Practice) Regulatory Code under the Banking Act 1998 and 6.1 of the Financial Supervision (Conduct of Business) Regulatory Code under The Investment Business Act 1991 for UK.
KYC consists of two parts; Customer Identification Program (CIP) and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD). CIP consists of collecting basic evidence on customer identification information such as utility bills, driver’s license, passports etc.

EDD goes further to adopt a risk based approach and demands financial institutions to identify the risk a customer represents, validate those risk categories and demonstrate effective customer due diligence to the regulator. The source of funds that are utilized as part of the business relationship and/or transaction as well as their intended use also must be determined. In the event that the source of the funds is not clear the financial institution must observe due diligence in carrying out a risk base assessment on the customer profile.

In an ideal situation this information is stored electronically in the “Know Your Customer” profile (KYC profile). Due to rapid globalization financial institutes all over the world should stress on KYC, keeping track of customer movements, risk assessment and profiling across borders. Breach of KYC and AML rules and regulations can result in serious penalties by the regulators.


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