Swiss KYC Exchange Net AG has developed a new web-based communication platform that facilitates the cost-effective upload, management and exchange of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) information for the financial industry.

The communication platform, named KEN goes live on 22 January and will assist and help financial services institutions to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and KYC regulations.

Its objective is to allow the cost effective exchange of KYC data between regulated financial institutions (banks, insurers, etc) and their clients, dramatically reducing the workload in the exchange process.

"Because of the high costs and expensive procedures to apply fast and effective compliance-friendly processes, many banks, especially in emerging markets, are just cutting relationships and exiting the market," Hans-Joachim von Haenisch, managing director of KYC Exchange Net AG told RBI at a briefing in London.

"But just terminating relationships is not a solution," he added.

The information exchange employs online KYC questionnaires, a standardised set of questions that banks can easily submit electronically to their banking partners. This process will replace the myriad of individually designed KYC questionnaires usually provided by banks.

With European banks normally taking an average of 30 days to obtain the client’s KYC data, the new platform will enable banks to exchange KYC information in less than 5 minutes. "It is a very simple concept, but with a tremendous amount of time saved," von Haenisch also said.

As a result of the first pilot of the new platform, KEN will let banks save up to 40-50% or about 7-8 hours of their middle and back office time while collecting all the data.

"KYC has a competitive advantage. However, with this platform the aim for banks is not to compete, but to collaborate and guarantee a secure standardised and regulated KYC data collection," he added.

In conclusion, von Haenisch revealed the product solution is already very close to reaching a critical mass in the European space.