Autumn Statement: electronic verification guidance for banks to be updated

Out-Law News | 23 Nov 2016 | 4:05 pm | 1 min. read

A financial services industry group will update guidance to help users gain digital access to financial services, the UK chancellor has announced as part of the government's Autumn Statement.

"The government ... has agreed with the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) that they will modernise their guidance on electronic ID verification to support the use of technology to access financial services," chancellor Phillip Hammond's full Autumn Statement said.

Financial technology, or fintech, expert Luke Scanlon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that the modernisation of the guidance will boost digital-only financial services companies.

“The modernisation of the JMLSG guidance will be a major step forward in helping people and businesses make their financial lives more digital," he said. "SMEs and consumers are aware of how difficult it can be to open up a bank account and verify and authenticate that they are who they say they are. Digital only banks and new payment service providers promise a future in which all financial aspects of a person or business’ life can take place online, but this can only occur if it becomes easier to establish relationships with financial providers in the first instance in a wholly digital context. Digital IDs are fundamental to this transition."

"The government is likely to back the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s public statements which suggest that the JMLSG guidance will need to be updated in a way that enables bank accounts to be opened without relying on cumbersome offline paper-based processes. Fintech businesses are highly active in this area and there is increasing scope for biometric solutions to play a pivotal role here," said Scanlon.