Embracing the perpetual KYC model: Safeguarding regulated firms against the rising threat of financial crime 

by | Jun 6, 2023

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Written by Zowie Lees-Howell, VP of Enterprise Sales, SmartSearch 

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, regulated firms face an escalating risk of financial crime. To combat this threat effectively, compliance experts emphasise the urgent need for firms to adopt a perpetual Know Your Customer (pKYC) model. 

With mounting regulatory pressures and the potential for significant fines, updating processes becomes crucial to maintain accurate customer profiles and mitigate risk. 

Regulated firms operate in an environment where financial crime poses a serious challenge. Criminal organisations seek to exploit vulnerabilities for money laundering, while individuals evade sanctions to further their illicit activities. 


In this landscape, firms without robust KYC checks unknowingly become conduits for such criminal activities, exposing themselves to legal and reputational risks. 

As a response to the changing nature of financial crime, the perpetual KYC model, has emerged as the next generation of customer identification and due diligence. 

Unlike traditional approaches, which rely on manual checks during onboarding and periodic reviews, pKYC harnesses advanced data sources and technology to continuously verify and update client information throughout their lifecycle. This dynamic approach enables firms to identify potential red flags promptly and adapt to evolving risk profiles. 


The transition to a perpetual KYC model offers numerous advantages for regulated firms. Firstly, it ensures regulatory compliance in an increasingly stringent environment, reducing the likelihood of severe penalties and reputational damage. 

By automating risk management processes, firms can enhance operational efficiency and reduce the risk of false positives, saving valuable time and resources. 

Furthermore, embracing pKYC allows firms to view compliance as a competitive advantage. With streamlined digital onboarding processes, customers experience a frictionless journey, improving satisfaction and loyalty. By staying ahead of evolving regulations and potential restrictions, firms can confidently engage with both existing and new clients, safeguarding their reputation and fostering trust. 


To facilitate the adoption of pKYC, advanced technology plays a vital role. Innovative solutions, such as next-generation digital compliance platforms, offer comprehensive views of customers by consolidating data from various sources. These platforms enable real-time monitoring and ensure firms have access to accurate and up-to-date information, reducing the risk of oversight or gaps in compliance efforts. 

In an era where financial crime continues to evolve, regulated firms must recognise the importance for change. The adoption of a perpetual KYC model is no longer a luxury but a necessity to survive and thrive in an increasingly regulated landscape. Firms that embrace pKYC demonstrate their commitment to robust risk management, regulatory compliance, and protecting the integrity of the financial system. 

The rising threat of financial crime demands a proactive and adaptive response from regulated firms. The shift to a perpetual KYC model enables firms to stay ahead of evolving risks and regulatory requirements. By leveraging advanced technology and automating risk management processes, firms can safeguard their operations, enhance customer experiences, and maintain compliance in an ever-changing landscape. 


Embracing pKYC is not just a strategic move; it is a crucial step towards protecting firms, their customers, and the financial ecosystem from the pervasive threat of financial crime.

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