By Steve Slater
LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp said it has launched a central register of information to help banks meet increasing compliance demands on who they deal with and cut their costs by reducing duplication.
The news and information company said on Wednesday the product would act as a central clearing house for banks, corporations, asset managers, hedge funds and others to check identity documentation for their counterparties.
Senior bankers have for some time said there is potential for banks to share information on customers to help to meet increasing "know your customer" (KYC) requirements and save money by reducing duplication of information.
Regulators require banks to have rigid KYC policies and to tighten compliance to bolster protection against money laundering and fraud, and to meet requirements ranging from sanctions on individuals to industry reforms such as Dodd-Frank. Many banks now have hundreds of KYC compliance staff.
Thomson Reuters said it would also be more efficient for a company to submit data once, rather than for every bank it transacts with.
Thomson Reuters said it had developed its product, Accelus Org ID, in partnership with major banks and other financial firms and following discussions with nine regulators.
As banks have looked to cut the time, effort and cost of gathering information on clients, several providers have said they are looking at offering centralised KYC services.
Swift, a Brussels-based group used by thousands of banks to exchange financial messages, this month said six banks had agreed to develop and use a new KYC Registry that would collect and share information about the other banks they use for their transactions.
Thomson Reuters, which gets about half of its revenue from banks and other financial institutions and about one-quarter from the legal profession, said Thomson Reuters Transaction Services Ltd, which provides electronic FX brokerage services, is using the Accelus Org ID and its 7,000 bank and buy-side clients were live on the product.
Tradeweb Markets, an affiliate of Thomson Reuters and a provider of fixed income and derivatives marketplaces, is in talks about using it, Thomson Reuters said.
Banks have said client confidentiality and security have been stumbling blocks to sharing of information in the past. Thomson Reuters said its product was fully secure, and it was up to the client to allow which bank can see its data.
Thomson Reuters is the parent company of Reuters.