25 March 2015
Banking industry urges customers to submit information for FICA requirements
The banking industry has embarked on a campaign urging bank customers to update their personal details with their individual banks, which need to hold the latest and most accurate information about all their customers in compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA).
Government introduced FICA to combat financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing activities, and simultaneously to protect bank customers from fraud, money laundering and similar crimes.
Speaking on behalf of the banking industry, South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) CEO, Kalyani Pillay, highlighted that legal compliance is an ongoing process and not merely a once-off initiative. The law requires of institutions to regularly test and ensure that they retain the correct customer information. “The banks are not only doing this for compliance purposes, but also to minimise customers’ exposure to bank crimes such as fraud, identity theft and cybercrime. Accurate information about customer identities is one of the means that help banks to provide financial services responsibly and securely. For us, safer banking practices are a priority and adherence to the FICA will contribute significantly towards achieving this,” says Kalyani.
She stressed the importance of bank customers taking their latest “Know Your Customer” (KYC) documents to their banks to ensure FICA compliance. These documents include, among others, identity documents, proof of address (for example a utility bill) and proof of authority (should a person be acting on behalf of another in the banking relationship).
Internationally, governments have agreed to fight organised crime and terrorism, and many countries have passed laws that demonstrate their commitment to this effort. South Africa is equally committed to ensure that its laws combating money laundering, organised crime and terrorism remain in line with international best-practice.
Banks are compelled, under law, to enforce strict measures when they do not have accurate and up-to-date information about their customers. Such measures could include the freezing of a customer’s account.
“The freezing of bank accounts is the last resort banks wish to undertake, and therefore customers are urged to provide the necessary legally required KYC documentation, not older than three months, to their respective banks without delay,” said Pillay.
SABRIC reminds customers to heed communications from their respective banks to submit the required information, including updated contact details to ensure FICA compliance and their own protection. If a bank customer is not certain of their FICA status, they should contact their account or relationship manager to find out.
“Collectively, we can make a difference to ensuring a safer and more secure financial sector and South Africa. This initiative is also supported by the South African Reserve Bank and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC),” concludes Kalyani
For more information visit www.fic.gov.za or contact your bank directly.
Issued on behalf of the banking industry by the South Africa Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC)
SABRIC, making South African banking safe, secure and fraud free