When people ask me what I do for a living, I can guarantee two responses: (1) “Wouldn’t you make more money from doing the laundering – I bet you could with all your experience!” and (2) “My wife/gran/mistress/dog tried to open a new account the other day at the bank she and her family have used since Methuselah was in short pants, and they actually asked her to supply a copy of her passport – have you ever heard anything more ridiculous?” (Well, yes – the Dome comes to mind.) Depending on my mood, I either smile sweetly and butter my roll rather aggressively, or I launch into a defence of due diligence – which may explain my recent lack of invitations to elegant soirees.
No-one likes admin. No-one likes having to fill in forms and take photocopies of documents and send them in. But the alternative is surely unthinkable: doing nothing to check that people are who they say they are before allowing them access to the financial system and its services. If you agree that something should be done, this leads to a discussion of where to draw the lines – precisely who should be asked for precisely what, and when. And in the grand scheme of things, surely a copy of a passport and a recent utility bill* is not an onerous requirement.
* Quite what we are going to ask for once everyone pays all their household bills online, with statements sent by email only, I am not sure. The current standard is that only bills received by post, on proper headed paper, are acceptable – but these will become rare beasties indeed.