Brussels
21 February 2017
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer
Central Asian banks in SWIFT take-up
Financial institutions in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have signed up to the SWIFT Know Your Customer (KYC) registry.

Nine banks in Turkmenistan and 13 in Uzbekistan have signed up to the service through community deals in conjunction with SWIFT’s partner in the region, Alliance Factors, which worked to support and onboard clients.

The centralised industry-owned utility maintains a standardised set of information on financial institutions, required for regulatory KYC compliance. It provides a way to exchange information for correspondent banking KYC rules, increasing efficiency and reducing risk.

Banks contribute an agreed ‘baseline' set of data and documentation for validation by SWIFT, which the contributors can then share with their counterparties. Each bank retains ownership of its own information, as well as control over which other institutions can view it.

Six of the banks in Uzbekistan have also signed up to SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening solution, while all of the Turkmenistan banks signed up this two years ago.

Vera Yablochkova, SWIFT sales team leader at Alliance Factors, said: “It has never been more critical for communities to work together to combat financial crime and we fully understand the requirements of this region. KYC due diligence is of the highest importance in an increasingly complex environment marked by financial crime; the KYC Registry helps the community to meet their requirements seamlessly.”

Bart Claeys, head of KYC compliance services at SWIFT, commented: “The addition of the Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan communities to the KYC Registry is another proof point for the industry’s support of a standardised and collaborative approach to combatting financial crime compliance.”

He added: “We know that counterparty due diligence can be time- and labour-intensive, so we’re constantly working with our community to build efficient, cost-effective solutions for their compliance needs.”

The KYC Registry now has more than 3,500 correspondent banking and funds members across 200 jurisdictions, while more than 20 central banks also use the service. According to SWIFT, these members account for about two thirds of all SWIFT messaging traffic.

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