How can you really ‘Know Your Client’ (KYC) if you don’t have the full picture?
KYC is essential for two key reasons; the first is to ensure financial institutions are not enabling criminal activities and secondly to optimise important client relationships. It is now mandatory for all firms to be able to demonstrate that watertight KYC procedures are in place across every department within the organisation. Compliance needs to fulfil all regulatory obligations, customer relationship teams need to know who and where their clients are, what they do and what they need, operations need quick access to accurate data, the list goes on and on.
The digital revolution has changed the way we all do business. Now there are numerous channels by which clients, whether institutional or individuals can connect with their financial services provider; which while very positive from a customer experience perspective has also injected layer upon layer of complexity into the process. Across geographies, departments and different channels, masses of important data is being collected and stored within multiple and disparate silos. And the result is disjointed, with incomplete data sets which will only ever be able to provide a distorted often highly inaccurate view of each customer relationship. How can you possibly be compliant, let alone operate efficiently, if all of this invaluable data is held completely separately and cannot be joined up? The picture says it all – a collection of dots which when you join them up create two very different pictures.
We’re all living in a ‘global village’ and technology is bringing us closer together, transforming our lives. But the by-product is the huge amounts of data being generated, every minute of every day. Some argue that 90% of the world’s entire data was actually created in the last few years. Whether this is true or not, what we’re missing, particularly in financial services, is the ability to intelligently consolidate this valuable asset in order to provide a complete, up to date view of the entire client relationship history. I’m not even mentioning the mountains of other value-added benefits which could be derived from harvesting some of the other data that’s out there – for now the goal is to just get the basics right. You cannot bury your head in the sand (or the data), because every day the situation gets worse and you will eventually drown in an ever-growing pool of data that is impossible to navigate or control.
KYC is an absolutely essential part of all financial institutions BAU activities and must be viewed as a strategic, business-critical initiative. Data consolidation doesn’t just sound like the right thing to do, it has been mandated by the regulators and all financial firms must be seen to be making positive changes to the way they operate. Not only that, but customers, whether individuals or corporates, every time they pick up a newspaper or switch on their TVs are all being offered tantalising incentives by your competitors to change. Nowadays the customer is king, if you are not keeping them happy then they will happily leave.
You can’t possibly know your client if all you have is lots of dots. All the dots need to be joined up, and this valuable asset has to be constantly maintained to ensure you can retain your competitive edge.