The FCA has today announced that it will relax rules around the use of selfies for identification purposes of customers. This is something of a shift for the FCA, and poses some challenges for FS organisations in ensuring that they correctly verify someone’s identity.
It is good to see the FCA taking a flexible approach, especially in these uncertain times. But firms will need to be cautious, before taking advantage of this opportunity. Firms must still identify, and verify the identity, of their customers. They also need to protect themselves and their customers against scams. A selfie might help, if it’s combined with a range of other things. But a scan of a document which seems to show the customer’s name and address, and a photograph of someone who may (or may not) be the same person, will almost never be enough, on its own. Even in a crisis, the normal rules still apply; and when the crisis has passed, litigation and regulatory sanctions can just as easily still follow. In fact, some regulators have “form” in this area. So, best be wary.