It’s a question no doubt asked by many private wealth and high net worth clients. In an age where challenger banks are now able to prove identity, check addresses and meet KYC and AML requirements in minutes, why does it still often take days for trust, private wealth and corporate services providers to perform the same function?

Well, the problem is caused by a vicious circle of regulation and process - over recent years the regulatory requirements have risen massively, but the still largely manual processes associated with onboarding have been unable to step up. As a result, onboarding has become an increasingly onerous task for firms and a potential source of frustration for new clients.

A smooth onboarding experience is a very important first step in developing a positive client relationship at the get-go. While quick and seamless onboarding should be a business goal under all circumstances, with the current restricted environment under coronavirus the ability to remotely verify customers has perhaps never been more important.

In a recent webinar we held on the topic, our identity partner GBG Group presented research that showed 75% of online registrations are abandoned if clients become frustrated with an onboarding process. Working with GBG, we have developed a fully integrated solution to provide a fast and simple onboarding experience, with a full audit trail that meets all KYC and AML obligations.

In order to verify that you're genuinely dealing with the person the client claims to be, two key tests are required - proof of identity and verification of address.

For proof of identity, introducing the ability to scan documents and automatically upload all information onto your system will significantly reduce human error from manual inputting or the risks of missing out key data.

Checking that documents are genuine is also critical. Even with training, it’s difficult to spot for example if a Singapore driver’s license or a Saudi Arabian passport is a high-quality forgery. GBG’s IDscan conducts document manipulation checking to assess the validity of forms of ID. Comparing databases of real documents, IDscan is able to provide a digital tampering heatmap which flags up any design or data anomalies that look out of place, far surpassing what is possible with the human eye to detect documents that have been forged.

In instances where documents are genuine but are not those of the fraudster, a selfie can be used to match the applicant to the identity documents. Here, you are able to run both biometric validation of facial features between the printed document, such as a passport photo, and a live image captured on a smartphone, tablet or webcam. A liveness feature then verifies that the person using the device is in fact live and not just a static image and that they match the presented ID document.

Finally, having checked identity, the second key test is verification of address. To do this, the system uses APIs to access credit reference agencies, government databases, electoral rolls and mortality registers to check whether the client actually lives at the address he or she claims.

While this whole process sounds extensive (which it is), it actually only takes minutes to work from ID scan, into document examination, face matching and through to address checking.

So why isn’t onboarding easier? Good question, because the technology is already here in the trust, private wealth and corporate services market to provide a better experience for clients, a more efficient process for firms and a fully audited trail for regulators.  

About the Author

Adrian Akers

Adrian is Global Head of Strategy and Innovation at TrustQuay