If you are in charge of a business – in particular a financial institution of some kind – then you probably have a number of pressing responsibilities to deal with on a daily basis. One of the most important of these is ensuring that you and your employees keep your business safe from unscrupulous customers.
While most of the people you will encounter during the course of your working day will be genuine, there is still the ever-present risk of falling foul to money launderers and other kinds of criminal activity.
That’s where KYC comes in. One of the legal requirements businesses have to adhere to is the KYC regulation, which states that a specific process of ID verification needs to take place – for example, when you take on a new customer. This process will check and double-check a person’s identity to ensure that they really are who they claim to be.
The benefits of KYC
The most obvious advantage of a rigorous KYC procedure is the protection it offers companies from various criminal activities. The biggest of these is money laundering, which is a major risk faced by many financial institutions and companies working in industries that are frequently targeted by criminals. However, investing in robust KYC processes can also protect your business from the threat of working with someone who has links to other forms of nefarious activity – potentially even terrorism.
As well as providing you with a protective framework, complying with the KYC rules can also boost the reputation of your business, as customers will feel reassured as soon as they go through their onboarding process. They will see that you have the appropriate security measures in place and that you take the protection of their funds seriously. This will build the trust of your client base, and could even lead to new customers if positive word-of-mouth spreads and your business is viewed as particularly reliable and safe.
What should KYC consist of?
Regulations regarding KYC differ from country to country and may be stricter in some places than in others. For example, in the UK, the KYC requirements that businesses have to follow are quite detailed and require a very specific selection of ID verification documents and processes to be followed. Any business found to be failing in its KYC duties could face hefty fines or even harsher penalties.
As you can see, it’s important that you are aware of the KYC regulations where you live, so you can ensure that your business stays on the right side of the law and doesn’t incur any penalties.
At the very least, your KYC procedure should include a robust onboarding process for each new customer to ensure you verify their identity from the very first day. It is then recommended that you follow up with regular checks, which will help you flag up any suspicious activity that could be a sign of money laundering. You should also make sure you keep your records for up to several years after your customer relationship ends, as evidence of your KYC compliance.
As long as you follow KYC best practices, you and your business should remain safe and secure, with a client base that can trust you to protect them and their money.