Why you should know your customer

Gunter Arijs has been with ING since 1989. Today, he is Circle Lead of the Know Your Customer Circle in Client Services. Come again?

First things first: What is Know Your Customer?

Gunter: Think money laundering, fraud, terrorist financing, … Just a few examples of why it is important that we know exactly who we are dealing with. Better still, who we shouldn’t be dealing with. At ING, we call it Know Your Customer or KYC. A top priority for the entire organisation. To protect ourselves and society. By better screening and monitoring customers and prospects.

Understood. But what is a Circle?

Gunter: With the Agile Way Of Working also comes a whole new terminology. In Client Services e.g. we have Customer Loyalty Teams or CLT’s. Autonomous and diverse teams with a specific field of expertise. They are responsible from the first contact with the client to the administrative finalisation. End-to-End. Multiple CLT’s form a Circle. Multiple Circles form a Super Circle.

What does your Circle do?

Gunter: We need to be compliant with local and international regulations and help meet the highest regulatory standards. We do that by keeping all customer documentation valid and up-to-date. If you are an existing customer, this means that your files are reviewed on a periodic basis. In case of changes of beneficial ownership, directors, signature cards, we need to know. That requires and eye for detail, being rigorous and analytical.

It’s like being a detective. We need to get our hands on the most recent client data.

What is your main activity?

Gunter: Collecting client data. Why? Well, you don't want a stranger to enter your home, do you? It’s like being a detective. We need to get our hands on the most recent data. Which is quite complex. You have strict regulations and privacy on the one hand, and fines as an incentive to be in order on the other. A great deal of the information is also personal and sensitive. And since our bank is also rated at the US Stock, we need to follow European and American rules.

What type of client profiles would you decline?

Gunter: That’s easy. If the customers refuse to provide any of the requested documents, they won’t be able to buy, sell, or trade with us. We have our own strict KYC rules for the on-boarding of clients. We want to ensure that they have good intentions for the use of the account and that they will stay within the limits of the law. By refusing to open a bank account for a physical person, e.g. when they are involved in terrorism, it’s easier to exclude them from banking, also as a legal entity.

Why should someone join your Circle?

Gunter: Because you can make the difference. As a true detective, you keep society safe from money laundering and terrorism. We’re on a journey that’s centered around customers, powered by technology and driven by determined people. In a challenging and evolving environment.

About Gunter

Gunter started working at ING back in 1989 after studying Business Administration at the Ghent University. He held several positions as a people manager at ING before becoming Know Your Customer Circle Lead. He loves to spend time with family and friends. Apart from skiing, football and practicing his Jimi Hendrix skills, he likes to go out running with his ING colleagues. His favourite hobbies are skiing, football, playing guitar but also running with his ING colleagues.

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