Ahmad Jamal, Head of Sales at Shufti Pro MENA

Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
The role of KYC, KYB, and AML services and compliance standards in securing cybersecurity and financial growth in KSA

Ahmad Jamal, Head of Sales at Shufti Pro MENA, talks about the importance of KYC, KYB, and AML services while sharing major insights about cybersecurity and the finance industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Tell us about Shufti Pro. When was it launched? Where? What services does it provide in the Kingdom?

Shufti Pro is an identity verification service provider offering KYC, KYB, and AML services to help global businesses onboard and manage legitimate customers. The UK-headquartered company has 6 regional offices and has launched numerous different IDV products since its inception in 2017. With the ability to verify 10000+ ID documents in 150+ languages, Shufti Pro serves customers in 230+ countries and territories. 

Shufti Pro recently opened an office in Dubai, UAE, to help businesses across the GCC economies to tackle financial crime with technological solutions that can quickly, accurately, and securely verify customer identities, while monitoring for potential high-risk clients.

In KSA and across the GCC countries, Shufti Pro offers a comprehensive range of KYC and AML solutions that comply with requirements from local and global authorities.

The services offered by Shufti Pro provide customers with advanced features to authenticate and onboard new clients in a very short time interval with real-time KYC for the Kingdom. The company helps businesses engage in a smooth and risk-free digitisation process through using next-generation technologies such as facial recognition and AI-powered solutions. Moreover, Shufti Pro offers real-time verification of documents written in Arabic through its OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature which extracts text with almost 99% accuracy.

What is the importance of applying GRC compliance, governance and compliance standards in spreading the use of electronic payment in the country?

This goes beyond payments and right to the heart of what it means for the economies of the Middle East to cement their positions as global financial centres. 

Money laundering and illicit finances operate on an international scale. It’s vital that the tools we use in the region to tackle financial crime are up to the task. 

For KSA-based businesses, the ability to process and manage electronic payments brings a number of benefits compared to handling cash: increased security with lower risk of theft and fraud; the ability to accept payments from customers irrespective of their location; and better management information. But, in order to realise these benefits, businesses need to have confidence that customers and funds are clean, which is where tools like Shufti Pro come in. 

Shufti Pro brings international excellence but is tailored to the unique requirements of the region. It supports all languages in the MENA region and can support the digital authentication of the region’s identity cards, passports, driving licences, and other forms of ID. The service has specifically been developed to support digital signing processes in the Middle East that comply with strict laws for customer onboarding.

Investing in compliance systems or electronic KYC may constitute financial burdens for merchants, especially small and medium-sized companies. How can these companies balance between their financial capabilities and the necessities of applying compliance standards as a prerequisite for growth and expansion on the other hand?

Businesses in the Kingdom and indeed across the region are subject to a number of local and global regulatory guidelines. Compliance with these requirements is not optional, but mandatory. 

The question then is less about whether businesses should be running these checks, and more about how they can handle them in a compliant manner at high speed, low cost and with minimal human intervention. These are exactly the kind of challenges that digital identity verification services are designed to serve. 

Beyond the compliance aspects, no reputable financial institution or ambitious bluechip brand wants to risk the reputational damage of being implicated in a money laundering or terrorist financing scandal. 

What are your plans in the Kingdom for this year?

We, at Shufti Pro are focused on working alongside governmental and non-governmental entities in a range of sectors, including finance, forex, crypto, crowdfunding, and many more. In short, we plan to revolutionise it for every possible domain where having a customer digital on-boarding journey  is a mandatory requirement.

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