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EBA draft guidelines for remote customer onboarding

18 January 2022

Subject persons have been experiencing a growing demand for remote customer onboarding solutions, especially due to the restrictions on movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the European Commission’s view, customer due diligence rules in Directive (EU) 2015/849 do not provide sufficient clarity and convergence about what is, and what is not, allowed in a remote and digital context. As a result, supervisory expectations and the measures taken by financial sector operators, differ across Member States. In this regard, the European Commission asked the EBA to issue guidelines on the application of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) rules where customers are onboarded remotely.

As a result, the EBA launched a consultation paper on its draft Guidelines on the use of remote customer onboarding solutions. Once adopted, the Guidelines would apply to financial sector operators when carrying out initial due diligence measures in accordance with Article 13(1) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 where customers are onboarded remotely. The draft Guidelines set out the steps which financial sector operators should take when choosing remote customer onboarding tools and when assessing the adequacy and reliability of such tools, in order to comply effectively with their AML/CFT obligations.

The draft Guidelines are suggesting that financial sector operators put in place and maintain internal policies and procedures which set out the process which must be followed when customers are onboarded remotely. A list indicating considerations which the above-mentioned internal policies and procedures should set out is also provided within the draft Guidelines and includes, amongst others:

  • the types of documents that are admissible and the information and authenticity checks that are necessary to identify the customer and verify their identity;

  • the level of human intervention required in the remote verification process;

  • the controls in place to monitor, on an ongoing basis, the correct and appropriate functioning of each remote customer onboarding solution and the effective implementation of the remote customer onboarding policies and procedures; and

  • a description of the induction and regular training programs to ensure staff awareness and up-to-date knowledge of the functioning of the remote customer onboarding solution(s), the associated risks, and of the remote customer onboarding policies and procedures aimed at mitigating such risks.

Additionally, the draft Guidelines are also suggesting that financial sector operators carry out pre-implementation assessment for the remote customer onboarding solutions which they intend to use, and that such solutions are monitored on a regular basis.

Section 5.2 of the Consultation Paper on the draft Guidelines lists a number of questions on which feedback by subject persons may be submitted directly to the EBA. The EBA will hold a virtual public hearing on the draft Guidelines on 24 February 2022 and subject persons are being encouraged to read the draft Guidelines and submit their feedback to the EBA by 10 March 2022. This is a chance for subject persons to review the Guidelines before they are finalised and give their opinion or raise any concerns which they might have with respect to their implementation and how they would apply in practice.

The Consultation Paper and the draft Guidelines can be found here.

Submit your feedback to the EBA here.

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Mark Lautier

Mark Lautier

Partner, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 6744

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Deborah Gatt

Senior Manager, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 2343

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