Embracing KYC Transformation

Updated: Aug 5

On Thursday, July 21, The ACAMS New York Chapter held an event titled Embracing KYC Transformation. The event was sponsored by Encompass Corporation and held in-person at The Center for Professional Accounting Practices at Fordham University. The discussion was moderated by (pictured below from right to left) Susan White (ACAMS NY Chapter Board Member, Managing Director at Kompany) and included the following panelists: Catherine Warren (KYC Transformation Director, North America, Encompass), Jason Grasso (Sr Director, Customer Risk and Due Diligence at Pega); Ken Triemstra (Director, Global Head of KYC Policy and Standards, Citi); and Alex Ford (President, North America, Encompass Corporation). Special thanks to Karen Rynes (Field Marketing Lead, North America, Encompass Corporation), who is not pictured.

The discussion covered the following themes: what “KYC transformation” means in practice; the benefits and challenges; and what a successful transformation looks like. The panel began by explaining that KYC transformation is the automation or digitization of one of more steps within the end-to-end KYC process. Transformation can be broad or very focused, but regardless of size, the stakeholders, scope, and measures of success must be defined upfront.


Many of the challenges to KYC transformation efforts can be managed by continuous engagement with stakeholders to ensure that the change impact is relatable and beneficial to them. This can be done through demonstrating financial return on investment through means of calculation (e.g., removal of process steps, reduction in average time to complete a KYC, increase in total quality). It may also be beneficial to maintain legacy processes, which can assist with internal and external adaption to changes.


Strong communication is a key component to a successful transformation. This often begins with

establishing a partnership with the business to understand KYC-related issues and to identify the root causes. This partnership helps to demystify the need for new or changing requirements and processes that the business may ultimately have to own. It’s also important to engage internal communication teams to keep impacted staff abreast of transformations that are underway. Lastly, engaging with auditors and regulators often and early is critical to the success of the transformation effort. Specifically, any major changes to the program should be discussed in advance.


Panelists concluded the discussion with key takeaways of critical elements of a successful

transformation, which included: keeping sponsors engaged so that they understand the value of the change; as well as listening and learning from business stakeholders to ensure that solutions are developed as a partnership.

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