With the advent of technology, financial crimes like money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption are also increasing all over the world. To stop these crimes, there is a need to implementation of regulations. Know your customer, or KYC is a set of procedures that determine if a customer is who they claim to be. These procedures are necessary for financial organizations to validate a customer’s identification and detect risk indicators. KYC processes aid in the prevention of identity fraud, money laundering, terrorist funding, & other financial crimes. Violations of these laws lead to severe penalties.
KYC laws were enacted in the 1990s to prevent money laundering. According to the Patriot Act, the United States imposed strict KYC regulations after the terrorism of 9/11. These reforms had been planned before the attack, but the incident of 9/11 provided the political push for them to be implemented. Article 3 of the Patriot Act compels financial institutions to comply with the customer identification program and customer due diligence.
Companies must follow KYC laws for client onboarding procedures. Compliance officers complete and carry out the firms’ duties in compliance procedures. Customer authentication is the most important aspect of the KYC process. The validity of client information will then be verified. If the client’s data is not confirmed, additional information about the consumer could be false. In this scenario, all controls used in KYC, CDD, and AML procedures will be dysfunctional. Furthermore, the authorities can penalize the failure in the control process, causing the company’s reputation to suffer.
Importance of KYC Documents in Financial Institutes
KYC documents are used to verify a person’s authenticity. These legal papers must be presented to prove a person’s identity when opening a bank account, mutual fund, fixed deposit, insurance plan, etc. KYC documents, and the client’s photo, have only recently become mandatory due to the prevalence of fraudulent accounts, money laundering, and fraudulent transactions. As a result, banks, government departments, and telecommunications require these legal documents to verify a person’s identity before doing any transaction. Proof of income is required to make sure that the money came from a legitimate source.
Implementation of KYC Laws All Over the Globe
The implementation of KYC laws in different countries and regions is described below:
Since 2016, there have been rules that permit the opening of bank accounts using electronic methods. The Central Bank of Brazil has launched a Register Data Portal to accelerate the establishment of simplified KYC accounts and improve information exchange. Customers who have an authorized digital identity can open an account swiftly.
New Zealand is on the cutting edge of electronic identification innovation. The KYC solutions providers allow users to give verification processes for online services and streamlined log-ins to get government services. Reporting businesses are required to do normal CDD on all accounts.
AUSTRAC is the Australian government agency in charge of discovering, discouraging, and disrupting financial system fraud. Before delivering defined services to clients, all reporting organizations must follow customer identification processes, including collecting and confirming information.
The UK has stringent KYC laws. These include standards for individual and corporate identification verification. The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator for financial services businesses and financial markets, is widely renowned for its forward-thinking attitude to innovation, favouring a risk-based strategy that focuses on outcomes rather than particular AML regulations and procedures.
Benefits of KYC Laws
The following are the benefits of the KYC laws’ implementation:
Prevent Identity Theft:
Identity theft is one of the major crimes all over the world. KYC regulations enable financial organizations to authenticate a client’s legal identity. This may help to avoid fake accounts & identity fraud caused by counterfeit or stolen identification papers.
Avoid Money Laundering:
The organized and disorganized criminal sectors employ fake bank accounts to hold funds for drugs, human smuggling, trafficking, racketeering, and other crimes. These illegal industries attempt to avoid detection by disbursing funds in many accounts.
Prevent Financial Fraud:
All offences where a person steals money from another person in order to benefit financially or professionally are known as financial crimes. These scams are notoriously difficult to track down and quantify due to their nature. The KYC process is intended to prevent financial fraud, such as applying for a loan with a false or stolen ID and receiving funds from a fraudulent account.
KYC Verification is a collection of processes validating a customer’s identification before or while conducting business with financial organizations. Compliance with KYC laws can help prevent money laundering, terrorist funding, and other common financial crimes. Financial institutions can more quickly identify suspicious behaviour by verifying a client’s identity when opening an account. Next, they can examine the customer’s transactional patterns. KYC laws are becoming increasingly stringent in the financial industry. They must pay full attention to comply with KYC regulations or face severe penalties. These laws mandate practically every company that interacts with a financial institution create an account or conduct transactions to meet these requirements.