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Banks and KYC:


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Has any other practitioner fallen foul of their bank and received a letter, blandly described as an Information Update, demanding completion of a long form, relating to KYC (Know Your Customer)?

Since I am very busy, at present, this nonsense is about the last thing I needed, this week!

Now, I have held this facility (Barclays) for over 30 years: clients are well established and I have "trained" a majority to pay their fee accounts electronically. In terms of account profile, personal and practice details nothing has changed.

Yet if I fail to complete this within 30 days, Barclays are threatening to drastically restrict my access to MY money!

In justification (I telephoned them and naturally was directed to an offshore call centre, where the "Agent" spoke appalling English and obviously read her guff from a screen pop.) Barclays endlessly churn out "Its is a legal requirement for UK banks!" Well, I have checked the FSA site etc and this is not true.

Clearly, the form has been composed by a young grad who has tried to stuff in as much needless information as possible. The core problem behind this, I believe, is the vast landslide of KYC software vendors; once again! Shades of MTD?

Most interested to know anyone elses's experience.



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17th May 2019 20:03

Yes - I have a similar 'questionnaire' from the CO-Op bank my bank.
The letter is still sitting there...

Interestingly, I am treasurer for two charities, both bank with HSBC. Both have now had letters requesting a telephone talk to verify 'details'. The first time HSBC threatened to close the account (balance £300k..) despite me answering all their questions.
The most recent two weeks ago, HSBC failed to phone at the appointed time - 14th May at 12:30. This is a local scout group with err....£9k in the account which has banked with HSBC for ever. Obviously a terrorist organisation then

I expect another threat to close the account soon.

ps: tip for HSBC: look on the Charity Commission web site.

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17th May 2019 23:13

Well it is a legal requirement, especially for multinational banks. I’m somewhat surprised that you’ve not come across it before.

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to Tim Vane
18th May 2019 15:02

"Well it is a legal requirement"

Well, here is the nub, Tim.

Please define the scope and parameters of bank's "Legal Requirement" under AML and FSA and B of E regulations.

I could not find out; all I arrived at were zillions of ads for "KYC Software Solutions".

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to Michael C Feltham
19th May 2019 03:58

Michael C Feltham wrote:

Please define the scope and parameters of bank's "Legal Requirement" under AML and FSA and B of E regulations.

Just google KYC regulations and there is a wealth of information. Note that international banks are generally required to conform to the combined regs of all the countries in which they operate and that most banks are also required to report under FATCA and other related legislation which is wrapped up in their KYC policies.

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to Tim Vane
19th May 2019 11:44

I did: and the search resulted in dozens of software outfits trying to flog their KYC packages...

But as for some clarity; nada.

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18th May 2019 05:39

Consider yourself lucky that the bank has not decided that you require extended due diligence.

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18th May 2019 06:08

Isn't the complaint here not that the banks require this information but that they already have 99% of what's required but make no effort to prefill the forms and / or just ask for anything missing?

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to Wanderer
20th May 2019 10:23

Precisely, Wanderer!

No other poster seems to have picked this up.

With the plethora of data banks already retain on their client databases, then surely, it would not be beyond the whit of man to pre-populate the idiotic forms they send out with the copious data they already retain. A simple "Is this correct?" question is surely all that should be needed?

Let's face it, banks some time ago sent out GDPR compliance requests to all clients. Which, in itself surely proves they already hold such data?

So sadly, as with every large badly managed operation which deals with people (Government, major corporations etc) they are very good at demanding their customers, clients etc do their work for them!


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By mumpin
18th May 2019 17:02

I had this from Santander.
Long list of vague questions. Form was headed "Information about a Plc". Three follow up phone calls from someone with little commercial awareness.
One letter threatened to freeze my firm's bank account and my client bank account if I didnt respond within 6 days.
They were obsessed with how I capitalised the business in 2005! Couldn't grasp that a service business doesn't need £100k to get off the ground.
You just have to play a straight bat.
God help me if my clients start getting the same treatment.

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to mumpin
18th May 2019 18:44

same here

A bunch of pointless questions.

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24th May 2019 14:15

I think it is also something to do with EU Regulations. My Spanish bank, insists I call in personally once every year to check all the info they already have on file. This must be done in person, not by letter or email, on threat of putting an embargo on the account if not complied with. Started about 5 or 6 years ago.

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28th May 2019 15:49

However frustrating I have seen HSBC close bank accounts due to lack of response.

One client didn’t receive any KYC letters, so the first clue was the company debit card not working, eventually a cheque was issued in the company name but first the company had to open another account into which to bank the cheque.

A friend only received the final warning letter so emptied the business out account before it was closed.

Both these are people switched on with their paperwork.

HSBC and Barclays seem worst on this and yes the call centre is always overseas and impossible to hear and understand.

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