News

Ask for a selfie: UK financial watchdog eases rules in pandemic

06/04/2020

Financial firms can ask customers for a selfie to check their identity, Britain’s markets watchdog said in a bid to ease burdens on staff having to work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it has received hundreds of requests from trade associations for adaptions to its rules.

But some were “opportunistic” and the watchdog said it will reflect on what this says about the firms involved or conduct in the sector.

FCA interim chief executive Christopher Woolard said in a public letter to heads of retail financial services firms that the pandemic affects the operational resilience of firms as staff work from home in volatile market conditions.

“It also brings with it the need to protect consumers,” Woolard said in his letter sent late on Tuesday (2/4/20).

Restrictions on non-essential travel affect a firm’s ability to make compulsory anti-money laundering checks on customers, but Woolard said firms can be flexible.

Firms could accept scanned documentation sent by e-mail, or ask clients to submit ‘selfies’ from their smartphone or videos, the FCA said. They could also send codes to a customer’s address to validate access to accounts.

Read more at Reuters https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain-markets/ask-for-a-selfie-uk-financial-watchdog-eases-rules-in-pandemic-idUSKBN21J4KM

By Huw Jones, Reuters, 1 April 2020