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eKYC to come to Abu Dhabi

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 1 July 2021


The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market is proposing to facilitate the use of non-face-to-face digital verifications of identities (eKYC).

Its suggestions in that direction are in response to a worldwide trend towards the use of eKYC by banks that want to 'onboard' customers. This is part of an even wider trend towards the 'digitalisation' of the "customer experience" that the global pandemic has accelerated.

In May last year a number of regulatory authorities in the UAE, including the FSRA, published the “Joint Guidance on the treatment of financial crime risks and obligations in the UAE in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.” This promoted the use of eKYC but acknowledged the risks that the authorities would have to offset in order to bring this about.

The consultative paper elaborates upon the principles contained in the Joint Guidance, as well as those in related guidance published by the Financial Action Task Force. If it leads to new rules, these will affect all entities required to undertake customer due diligence (CDD) in the ADGM, including financial services firms authorised and regulated by the FSRA, Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) and charities.

The regulators want all entities that undertake CDD to consider the consultative exercise.

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