Supplementary Question on Legislative Council Meeting – Cancellation of Customers’ Accounts by Banks

MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese):

President, first of all, I have to declare that I am currently a bank adviser. With regard to the issues relating to bank accounts and transactions of small business owners as highlighted in the main question, the establishment of a KYCU for corporate customers may enhance the efficiency of the CDD process. Nonetheless, the present KYCU is jointly developed by the banking industry and professional bodies on the former’s initiative. As I have stressed time and again, since KYCU is an important financial infrastructure, the Government should make reference to the current practices adopted by the Singaporean Government and take up a more proactive leading role. May I ask the Secretary if the Government will, upon implementation of KYCU, bring all the KYCU functions under its management instead of leaving it as commercial operations?



President, we agree with the Member’s understanding that KYCU is indeed a very important platform. In this connection, we are exploring a so-called “electronic identity” (“eID”) project with the Innovation and Technology Bureau and have embarked on the relevant discussions. The main objective of this eID project is to dovetail with the above mentioned KYCU. When the Government discussed and examined the relevant project, the industry, particularly the banking industry, highlighted that due to operational needs, it is imperative to expeditiously implement KYCU covering both corporate and individual customers to facilitate the CDD process of banks. Noting that the banking industry has prepared to examine and implement KYCU, the Government will establish an eID database of individual and corporate customers to facilitate the smooth implementation of KYCU. At this stage, we do not see any imminent need to put this utility under the operation or management of the Government, but we will not rule out this possibility. If the Government focuses its efforts on the eID project, it would be better for KYCU to be operated by the industry, which can design various KYCU processes in the light of the needs of the banking, securities and insurance industries as well as the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme. For this reason, we consider it more appropriate to leave the operation of KYCU to the industry for the time being, but we will not rule out the possibility of reviewing the present arrangement when such a need arises.