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Unveiling the KYC Onboarding: From Identity Guardianship to Global Standards

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Need of KYC verification in today’s world

In the ever-evolving tapestry of our modern world, the need for KYC (Know Your Customer) verification has become an indispensable thread, weaving its way through the fabric of our lives. Let us embark on a journey of understanding, exploring the reasons why this verification process holds such profound significance today.

First and foremost, KYC verification serves as a guardian of identity, standing tall against the rising tide of impersonation and deceit. Subsequently, as the digital realm expands its boundaries, ensuring the authenticity of individuals and entities becomes paramount. Furthermore, by unraveling the mysteries shrouding customer identities, KYC shields us from the treacherous waters of identity theft and financial chicanery, fostering a climate of trust and security.

How enhanced due diligence helps in KYC onboarding

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) is an integral component of the KYC (Know Your Customer) onboarding process, playing a crucial role in ensuring a comprehensive and thorough assessment of potential customers. Following are the ways how EDD contributes to KYC onboarding:

  • Firstly, it conducts in-depth Risk Assessment.
  • Secondly, it performs Identification of Complex Structures.
  • Enhanced Verification Methods.
  • Mitigation of Higher Risks.
  • Regulatory Compliance.

How KYC Client onboarding process works

The KYC (Know Your Customer) client onboarding process is a systematic procedure that organizations follow to gather, verify, and assess the information of new customers before establishing a business relationship. Following are the ways of how the KYC client onboarding process typically works:

  • Firstly, it Collects information about customers.
  • Identification Verification.
  • Risk Categorization.
  • Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD).
  • Document Verification.
  • Screening for Sanctions and PEPs.
  • Risk Assessment and Decision-Making.
  • Ongoing Monitoring.
  • Recordkeeping.

Know your client regulations in USA

In the United States, KYC regulations are primarily enforced by various regulatory bodies, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Moreover, these regulations aim to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities by establishing a robust framework for customer due diligence. Here’s an informative overview of the KYC regulations in the USA, supported by relevant statistics:

Customer Identification Program (CIP): The USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in response to the September 11 attacks, introduced the CIP requirement. It mandates financial institutions to establish and maintain a CIP to verify the identity of customers opening accounts. Moreover, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as of 2019, there were approximately 12,700 banks and 7,400 credit unions in the United States subject to CIP regulations.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Programs: Financial institutions, including banks, broker-dealers, and money service businesses, are required to develop and implement AML programs as part of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Moreover, these programs encompass policies, procedures, and controls to detect and report suspicious activities. Additionally, as of 2020, FinCEN reported that there were over 17,500 financial institutions filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the United States. By leveraging the expertise and insights of the “smart money,” these institutions aim to enhance their AML programs and effectively combat financial crimes.

SEC Regulations: The SEC requires registered investment advisors and broker-dealers to establish AML programs, conduct customer due diligence, and file SARs. Furthermore, in 2020, the SEC reported that it conducted approximately 300 AML examinations. Consequently, it resulted in enforcement of actions against firms for non-compliance with AML regulations.

Fines and Enforcement Actions: Non-compliance with KYC regulations can result in significant penalties. For instance, in 2020, the U.S. Moreover, the department of the Treasury imposed fines totaling over $1.2 billion on financial institutions for violations related to AML and KYC requirements.

Most common Global KYC standards

 In the realm of global Know Your Customer (KYC) standards, several frameworks and guidelines have been established to promote consistent and effective customer due diligence practices. Here are some of the most common KYC standards which are being used worldwide:

  1. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.
  2. Wolfsberg Group AML Principles.
  3. International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
  4. Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) Standards.
  5. European Union’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD4).
  6. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Guidelines.
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