Top 5 reasons to get a Legal Entity Identifier

Featured

The LEI has become established as the standardised code to identify who is who, and who owns whom in the world.

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a unique global identifier of legal entities that participate in financial transactions – whether entities are individuals, companies or government bodies. Used in reporting to financial regulators, LEIs are a requirement for all financial companies.

With almost 1.6 million organisations now with LEIs, the global identifier has become established as the standardised code to identify who is who, and who owns whom.

Below are some of the key reasons your organisation should register an LEI – sooner, rather than later:

Reason 1: International recognition

As your global identifier, the LEI code allows you to be recognised as a legal entity internationally. It is a standardised organisation identifier that is endorsed by the G20 and Financial Stability Board, and regulated by the Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF).

A live reference to your organisation’s identity record (see Ubisecure’s LEI record), the LEI is just as important as other organisation identity attributes, such as your local business registry company number, VAT number, domains, etc.

The LEI is an essential identifier for enabling cross border transactions, and also greatly enhances your organisation’s credibility, both locally and globally.

Already widely supported, with a 1.5 million-strong install base, LEI issuance is growing rapidly.

Reason 2: Compliance

There are many regulations that mandate the use of LEIs (see latest Regulations), with non-compliance inhibiting transactions and leaving organisation’s open to the risk of getting fines.

With new regulations demanding the use of LEIs going live every month, it is to your advantage to be prepared and obtain a LEI in advance.

Reason 3: KYC processes

The LEI code is widely used for Know Your Customer (KYC) processes. Make sure your organisation is recognised as a credible LEI holder.

Extensive vendor networks (see GLEIF vendor stakeholder network) already rely on LEI for KYC, B2B onboarding and to refresh client identity data.

The use of LEIs is well researched as a tool for cost saving in KYC/onboarding in the banking sector (See the GLEIF ebook).

LEI is the primary connector between all regional and private sector identifiers. By connecting multiple sources and formats of identity, it is possible to conclude a more trustworthy identity assertion.

The LEI is formed using a standardised, consistent identity data reference schema that includes Entity Legal Forms (ELF) codes (Ltd, GmbH, etc). The unambiguous ELF data provides an improved user experience by categorising legal entities, providing clear insight into the global marketplace.

Reason 4: Total trust

LEI records contain a powerful set of identity data attributes, helping improve trust in who you are, both in the physical world and in the online world.

Both humans and machines can verify the LEI. The GLEIF database of issued LEIs is open and searchable via its web interface, full dataset download, or API.

The LEI must be renewed annually to remain active, and renewal requires revalidation of corporate details.

The LEI can be readily updated at no cost to the holding organisation and can always represent accurate organisation identity. It is not necessary for a new code to be issued should corporate details change.

The LEI is the only identifier to connect parent and children organisations publicly. Known as Level 2 data, LEIs provide transparency into the “who owns whom” aspect of organisation identity.

LEIs can list multiple “Doing Business As” names and previously incorporated names, giving a historical audit trail to counterparties.

LEIs support multiple languages for names and addresses. Local language support provides a better localised understanding of, and reliance upon, identity data.

The data quality of the LEI system is open and transparent. LEI reference data can be challenged. A defined, publicly accessible process exists within the ecosystem to openly challenge identity data if a counterparty believes it to be inaccurate.

Reason 5: Security & brand protection

Because your LEI code will be used by numerous other applications, you can enhance security and brand protection by obtaining one.

It is becoming commonplace to report your LEI on websites; contained in web pages, press releases, site seals, QR codes, bar codes, and more.

LEIs are already supported by XBRL (the open international standard for digital business reporting). Both human-readable and machine-readable LEIs can be embedded in critical XBRL documents, such as annual reports and financial statements, as the standardised organisation identifier.

LEIs will soon be included in the new ISO payment standards as the organisation identifier in SWIFT transactions.

The implementation of LEIs into digital certificates will soon be standardised through the draft ISO 17442-2 and ETSI TS 119 412-1; delivering digital signing and workflow solutions that embed the LEI into the digital signatures.

If you haven’t already, head over to RapidLEI to get an LEI today. With our automated issuance, you can have a registered LEI code in just a few minutes.

[REFERENCES]  

  1. Wikipedia – Legal Entity Identifier
  2. Ubisecure – 5 Reasons to get an LEI Number
  3. Ubisecure – “Now is the appropriate time for the payment industry to begin its adoption of the LEI,” says SWIFT

FICA law in the spotlight after property sales to politically exposed nationals

Featured

A probe into property sales by one of SA’s biggest estate agents highlights the importance of conducting thorough KYC processes in line with FICA legislation.

For businesses that deal with the provision of financial services in any form, the importance of adhering to the financial laws that govern processes cannot be emphasised enough, with repercussions for non-compliance ranging from huge financial loss, to irreversible reputational damage.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, (FICA) which aims to combat financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities, came under the spotlight this week, after one of South Africa’s established real estate players, Pam Golding Properties, allegedly enabled money laundering by facilitating the sale of properties to politically exposed Mozambique nationals.

According to fin24, Pam Golding Properties is being probed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) in a case involving the sale of two properties worth R50 million to the family of former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza, in a transaction which is apparently raised suspicions of money laundering.

“It is alleged that the company may have contravened financial law by not following the legal requirements in the process of selling the properties in Dainfern and Kyalami Estate to the family.”

In what has been described by the EAAB as a “first of its kind”, the investigation will examine whether Pam Golding Properties violated the conditions of FICA, including whether the agency can be identified as an accomplice to money laundering.

While non-compliance to FICA laws specifically comes with its own hefty consequences of 15 years’ maximum imprisonment or a fine of up to R10 million, failure to comply with AML laws and regulations and breaches of financial sanctions can have further dire consequences, on top of punitive fines and criminal charges – such as damaged reputations and sanctioning.

What is FICA?

A pinnacle of South African law when it comes to fighting financial crime, FICA came into effect in 2003 after being introduced two years prior, with the aim of combatting financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities.

More recently, in May 2017, even tighter regulation was introduced with the FIC Amendment Act. Essentially, FICA makes sure that institutions know exactly who they are doing business with – i.e. Know Your Customer, or KYC.

KYC legislation has been introduced in most major financial centres across the globe. Such legislation is driven by recommendations and standards set by the Financial Action Task Force. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

pbVerify & SigniFlow have combined their world-renowned technologies and software to create a fully digital, end-to-end FICA system that enables accountable institutions to carry out fully compliant KYC and onboarding processes, seamlessly and digitally – KYCFactory.

Incorporated in our solution, is pbVerify’s Sanctions, PEP and PIP (Politically Exposed and Influential Persons) reporting tool, which enables businesses to manually screen prospective clients and perform enhanced due diligence on anyone, from any country.

Read the latest on our ground-breaking digital KYC & compliance factory, KYCFactory, HERE.

[REFERENCES]  

  1. IOL – Pam Golding is under intense scrutiny
  2. Fin24.com – Pam Golding in hot water over sale of houses to ex-Mozambican president’s family
  3. Fic.gov.za – Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Legislation
  4. Eaab.org.za – Estate Agency Affairs Board
  5. Treasury – The FICA ACT
  6. pbVerify – Introducing the first fully digital end-to-end FICA system
  7. SigniFlow – KYCFactory enables paperless compliance processes

Introducing the first fully digital end-to-end FICA system

Featured

KYCFactory is the first fully digital end-to-end electronic FICA/AML solution that requires no supporting documents, whether a business is onboarding a consumer or a business.

As a chief provider of customer verification and risk management services, pbVerify understands time is too valuable to spend on onerous KYC processes.

The pursuit of compliance today, particularly in the financial services industry with its stringent regulation milieu, has many businesses troubled. It is something that consumes an enormous amount of their time – not to mention energy and resources.

Perhaps one of the biggest headaches, is the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, (FICA) which came into effect in 2003 after being introduced two years prior, with the aim of combatting financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities.

More recently, in May 2017, even tighter regulation was introduced with the FIC Amendment Act. Essentially, FICA makes sure that institutions know exactly who they are doing business with – i.e. Know Your Customer, or KYC.

Because the pbVerify team understands how valuable time is in today’s business world, we have introduced a revolutionary new FICA product that offers businesses a fast and easy means of ticking all the compliance boxes when building customer-facing onboarding systems: KYCFactory.

Fully digital FICA compliance

Launched this year and developed by our pbVerify software team, KYCFactory is the first fully digital end-to-end electronic FICA/AML (Anti-Money Laundering) solution on the market that requires no supporting documents, irrespective of whether a business is onboarding a consumer or a business.

KYCFactory’s consumer verification comprises configurable, automated processes, including a slick new online 3D liveness test that biometrically matches the person to their national identity document photo, identity data, and alive-deceased data while retrieving their address from over 100 trustworthy SACRRA sources.

Thanks to SigniFlow’s advanced digital signature and workflow automation software, KYCFactory offers businesses the ability to workflow the KYC process, including all requisite information, to multiple people who may need to sign a declaration in observance of the applicable laws.

In accordance with the FIC Amendment Act of 2017 (which accountable institutions had to comply with by April 2019), KYCFactory takes care of compliance for all juristic persons via a brand-new approach to FICA verification – an electronic declaration that caters for Directors, Signatories and UBOs (Ultimate Beneficiary Owners).

Sanctions screening

KYCFactory incorporates pbVerify’s new Sanctions, PEP and PIP (Politically Exposed and Influential Persons) reporting tool, which enables businesses to manually screen prospective clients and perform enhanced due diligence on anyone, from any country.

This service instantly reports on over 2.5 million detailed PEP profiles and detects individuals, organisations and vessels linked to more than 50 risk categories, including Sanctions, Foreign Officials, and State-Owned Enterprises.

The second part of our Sanctions screening service relates specifically to sanctions and embargoes – i.e. political trade restrictions put in place against target countries to maintain or restore international peace and security. KYCFactory automates reporting on business with individuals who pose a threat and are listed on OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control) Mission. Read more here.

Total technology             

In addition to the aforementioned technology that makes KYCFactory the world-class, comprehensive FICA solution it is, other platforms used to authenticate customer identity beyond a shadow of a doubt include:

  1. Government source data ID Photo Biometric Verification
  2. Google Geolocation & Street View
  3. CIPC Company & Director Verification
  4. SACRRA Address Source Validation
  5. Social Media for Business (Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn)
  6. Website Verification (SSL Authentication)

KYCFactory is available via API & integrates seamlessly with business systems, according to individual KYC and compliance management methods and policies.

Say goodbye to time-consuming manual & paper-based FICA processes, and find out how headache-free compliance can be: Give us a call on +27 (0)10 300 4898 or email support@pbverify.co.za.

pbVerify is a registered Credit Bureau in terms of section 43 of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. Its data-systems, data-security and data-processing protocols are audited annually in accordance with the NCA. pbVerify follows strict ISO9001:2015 quality management processes that are audited and internationally certified by TUV Rheinland Germany. pbVerify engineers are certified in ISO27001 IT Security Management.

REFERENCES

  1. Fic.gov.za – Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Act No. 38 of 2001) [PDF]
  2. SigniFlow – KYC
  3. The Banking Association of South Africa – Financial Intelligence Centre Act
  4. SABRIC – FICA (KYC)        
  5. Law Society of South Africa – FIC Amendment Act published
  6. Financial Intelligence Centre – Who are we?
  7. BBrief – FICA amendments deadline fast approaching
  8. International Compliance Association – What is compliance?
  9. Financial Action Task Force – Who we are

Debt Relief Bill: 13 Fast Facts

Featured

debt-1157824_960_720We explore details around Government’s recently signed National Credit Act amendment, which aims to free low-income earners of crippling debt.

pbVerify Business customers who extend credit to consumers are urged to strengthen their KYC procedures to not only ensure legislative compliance, but also to protect them against potential financial losses.

This comes after a recent amendment to South Africa’s credit act, which has highlighted the importance of responsible credit lending.

Just over two months ago, the National Credit Amendment Bill – broadly dubbed the “Debt Relief Bill” – was signed into law and, although it has been almost two years since Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry initiated the amendment bill, there are still uncertainties around its implications.

Also known as the Debt Intervention Bill, the bill basically aims to protect low-income earners from what government considers reckless credit lending, allowing consumers who are burdened by debt to have it written off.

While the bill has been welcomed by consumers, around 9.4 million*[7] of whom may qualify for debt relief thanks to it now having been signed into law, it has been met with “extreme concern” by others, including the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), which said in a statement on 16 August, “The Act, in its current form, will restrict ability of banks to lend to this vulnerable market and increase the cost of credit.”

Treasury estimated government’s debt-relief proposals could result in the write-off of R13.2bn to R20bn of debt.

In response to concerns raised, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the bill and its proposals were within the country’s constitution. Business Day cites Ramaphosa as saying that, regulations and certain provisions notwithstanding, the law is constitutional.

Here are some fast facts relating to the debt relief bill and debt in South Africa to help demystify the controversial piece of legislation:

  1. The National Credit Amendment Bill was signed into law on 15 August 2019.
  2. The Debt Intervention Bill is an amendment to the National Credit Act.
  3. The bill’s primary aim is to provide relief for South Africa’s vulnerable and most financially distressed consumers.
  4. There is no date set yet for the bill to come into operation.
  5. According to the bill, indebted consumers must meet the following criteria in order to have debt extinguished:
    1. They must earn a gross monthly income of R7 500 or less.
    2. They must have unsecured debt amounting to R50 000.
    3. The National Credit Regulator (NCR) must have found them to be critically indebted.
  6. The bill also makes it an offence for a person to intentionally submit false information related to debt relief.
  7. The bill will inevitably result in losses for banks, retailers and other credit providers.
  8. TransUnion’s Q2 quarterly Industry Insights Report shows a significant increase in the amount of credit being taken out by consumers (Unsecured lending was recorded to be up by 12% in the second quarter).
  9. BASA petitioned Ramaphosa in August not to sign the Act in its current form.
  10. According to BASA, existing debt relief measures have proven to educate and rehabilitate debtors and return them to the credit market. “In 2017, banks expunged R30 billion in prescribed debt in line with existing legislation and their own policies.”
  11. Following a government-commissioned study by consulting firm Genesis Analytics, it was suggested that Parliament reconsider the passage of the bill in its current form, and rather introduce the debt-intervention system within the bounds of the current debt-review system, with subsidy mechanisms for low-income consumers.
  12. According to the Genesis Analytics study, it is unlikely that the introduction of law will have a significant economic impact at a macro-economy level.
  13. The study suggests that the law will mostly benefit the informal credit market. On the other hand, the formal sector credit providers could lose about R3.9bn of existing credit book.

pbVerify is a registered Credit Bureau in terms of section 43 of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. Its data-systems, data-security and data-processing protocols are audited annually in accordance with the NCA. pbVerify follows strict ISO9001:2015 quality management processes that are audited and internationally certified by TUV Rheinland Germany. pbVerify engineers are certified in ISO27001 IT Security Management.

Phone: +27 (0)10 300 4898

E-mail: support@pbverify.co.za

 

[REFERENCES]

  1. gov.za – National Credit Amendment Act 7 of 2019
  2. Government Gazette – National Credit Amendment Act 7 of 2019 PDF
  3. Fin24 – 5 questions on the ‘debt relief bill’ unpacked
  4. TransUnion – Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report
  5. Moneyweb – Unsecured lending up 12% – report
  6. The Banking Association of South Africa – NCA Amendment Act
  7. *Moneyweb – Close to 9.4m consumers may qualify for debt relief under new bill
  8. Business Day – Cyril Ramaphosa defends controversial debt-relief law
  9. Business Tech – Ramaphosa signs controversial new debt relief bill into law – Here’what it means for you

pbVerify launches new high value, low cost online B2B commercial Company credit check report

Company credit check report for under R100.00

SME Credit Business Credit Check

SME Credit Business Credit Check

All business owners have come to realise the importance of knowing the credit status of the businesses and principles of the businesses they do business with. Before the launch of pbVerify’s new credit bureaux business-to-business (B2B) commercial credit check reports, these facilities were costly and not within the reach of smaller businesses, especially those who grant lower monthly credit amounts to other businesses. pbVerify have developed the perfect online business credit check tool that not only suits the budget of smaller businesses, it also gives accurate, up to date credit bureaux and Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) data on businesses and the principles of businesses to all users of the pbVerify online system.

The new pbVerify Company credit report includes the following information;

  • Comprehensive CIPC Company registration information
  • Comprehensive CIPC Directors information
  • Director’s consumer credit check summary – A snap-shot overview of all the Directors personal credit statuses (Defaults, Judgements, Adverse Accounts etc.) with the facility to click and drill deeper into a full consumer credit check on any Director
  • List Company Auditor information
  • List Properties owned by Company – Comprehensive Deeds Office Registration information
  • List of Company Bonds
  • Company Judgements

To add more value to the proposition, pbVerify also launched another business-to-consumer (B2C) consumer credit check report to the existing suite of consumer credit bureaux products. This report takes an in-depth look at the credit status of the individual person and also features CIPC, Deeds office (property) and fraud alerts to the regular credit bureaux data for a mere R30.00 per report.

The launch of these new products coincide the inclusion of South Africa’s third largest credit bureaux, Compuscan into the existing range of credit bureaux products. pbVerify customers now have direct, instant access to the following credit bureaus and other business data providers through one online system;

  • TransUnion (ITC) credit bureaux
  • Experian credit bureaux
  • Compuscan credit bureaux
  • XDS credit bureaux
  • National Deeds Office
  • Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC / CIPRO)
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • South African Revenue Services (SARS)
  • RefCheck Academic verification service.

Know your customer
Credit risk management and Know your customer (KYC), lingo previously only used by risk managers of large enterprises has become critical elements of successfully running any business, any size. pbVerify provides all the information necessary for financial managers and business owners to make informed and intelligent credit risk decisions.

For more info, please visit pbVerify or contact us on 011.516.9400 or send an Email to support@pbverify.co.za