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Synopsis of Keynote Interview, Identity & KYC Summit US



Sunil Madhu, Socure
Patrick Curry, British Business Federation Authority

Sunil: The word ‘identity’ means a lot of different things. It is bounded by the risk context between individuals and businesses, and by the types of transaction involved. Could you walk us through some of these different contexts and set the scene for today’s discussions?

Patrick: With regard to identity, there are changes in every dimension – in market requirements, business opportunities, regulatory frameworks, risk paradigms… And there are regional differences – in Canada, banks are looking to collaborate to provide identities; in the UK, banks want to be consumers of identity. There are also various contexts of identity, covering people, organizations and devices... Individuals have one identity, but have different persona within 4 legally distinct contexts - consumer, citizen, government employee and industry employee.

Sunil: Can you speak about the compliance landscape, and how compliance fits into the identity and KYC space?

Patrick: I would like to see far more privacy smart systems, which minimize or avoid the exposure of personal attributes, using techniques like zero knowledge proof. Identity enables identifiers which underpin data quality that can power compliance in the banks. Technologies are accelerating change, offering benefits and risks, and the banks need to make better use of identity to enable them to manage the risks and deliver the benefits.

Sunil: Let’s talk about financial inclusion… To be included in the financial community, you need a financial identity. How do you see this space evolving?

Patrick: This is about herd behavior. People in many countries are part of consumer-centric communities, and community has a large part to play in financial inclusion. Witness Mpesa in Kenya.

Sunil: Can you comment on what is happening with blockchain, in relation to identity and KYC?

Patrick: Blockchain is one of at least twenty technologies that have been identified as accelerating digital change in societies and economies. Today, there are some good initiatives focused on asset traceability, smart contracts, etc., and the speed with which these things happen on the blockchain is orders of magnitude faster than anywhere else. This technology will provide a trust anchor between major business systems. Interoperability between blockchains will become critical for KYC information re-use, and access control is vital, based on high assurance federated identity management, which exists at scale today.

Sunil: What are some of the challenges that the financial services industry faces with regard to identity and KYC, and what do institutions need to do together to overcome them?

Patrick: Most of the challenges are associated with a lack of executive awareness and non-interoperable solutions. Executive awareness and understanding needs to be increased. We need to stop point-solutions being developed, and think more collaboratively, like a herd. We also need to consider how KYC can be turned from a problem into an opportunity for new information services. To achieve this requires organizations to collaborate more, as they do in other leading sectors. Together, we can establish a better baseline of identity and KYC, reducing risks and costs.