SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening service exceeds 500 customers – close to 30% are African-based

Cooperative sees validation of the hosted utility model for compliance services

SWIFT announces another important milestone for its hosted compliance services – the 500th customer for the SWIFT Sanctions Screening service. The achievement comes shortly after another hosted SWIFT compliance service, The KYC Registry, surpassed 2,500 member financial institutions this past May. The rapid uptake of the two offerings validates SWIFT’s vision that compliance services are most efficiently and effectively delivered via a hosted utility model.

In Africa, there are currently close to 40 countries – including 11 central banks and a total of 140 customers – using the Sanctions Screening service.  Since 2014, the number of African customers has more than doubled, illustrating the need and community approach to addressing concerns about financial crime and meeting global regulations.

“We are seeing tremendous interest on the part of our community in hosted utility services like Sanctions Screening,” said Nicolas Stuckens, Head of Sanctions Compliance Services, SWIFT. “The service is truly a win-win for our customers: they benefit from a standardised, shared, community-developed solution that is updated in line with the latest sanctions lists, as well as increased transparency around compliance, reduced risk and lower maintenance costs.”

Sanctions Screening is a hosted utility service that screens financial transactions in real-time against more than 30 up-to-date sanctions lists from all the major regulatory bodies, including OFAC, the United Nations and the European Union. All structured message types can be screened, including FIN, ISO 20022, SEPA, FedWire and other non-SWIFT messages. Matches, or “hits,” are identified immediately and highlighted for further action.

The service is designed for the needs of small to mid-size financial institutions as well as corporations, high-volume payments businesses and central banks. Since its launch in 2012, SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening service has been adopted by customers in 135 countries, including entire banking communities in Ghana and Nigeria, among other countries.  There are also 20 central banks using the service, more than half of which are in Africa.

Hugo Smit, Head of Africa South, SWIFT said: “Financial institutions in Africa face increasing regulatory pressure to maintain strong sanctions compliance programmes. Sanctions compliance is complex, and the penalties of non-compliance can be severe. SWIFT is committed to supporting the financial community by developing simple, cost effective solutions that address industry challenges.”

Based on the success of its Sanctions Screening and Sanctions Testing services, SWIFT is in the process of expanding its sanctions compliance services portfolio. Further details will be made available at the upcoming Sibos Conference in Geneva on 26-29 September 2016.

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