Treating customers fairly and regulatory compliance make data the lifeblood of any financial and professional services organisation. But its value depends entirely on its quality and accuracy.
The contact details for your customers decay continually. People move house, move abroad, get married or divorced and change their name, or sadly die. And yet all too often you rely on these customers or their next of kin to keep you informed of changes to maintain the integrity of your data. The end result is a miscalculation of reserves and liabilities held on balance sheets, and a growing mountain of unclaimed assets.
The Pensions Regulator issued strong guidance on this in 2012, and more recently the FCA has gone much further. With up to £20 billion of unclaimed assets in the UK, it falls upon all of us to ensure this situation is redressed.
Today, businesses generally recognise the importance of data in helping drive sales, increasing customer retention, analysing data to provide valuable insights to enable growth and enhance the customer experience. While most have a data management strategy in place, the execution of this strategy is sometimes weak. There are several reasons for this: no clear ownership of data management within the business and a lack of data management culture; lack of resource; and lack of clear processes. This leads to a reactive rather than proactive approach whereby they do not derive full value from their data – and this impacts the customer.
The most common data errors are: incomplete or missing data; out of date information; duplicate records; and typos. The problem is exacerbated in firms using multiple databases, having several different means of data collection, and where data is managed on a departmental basis.
Failure to maintain your data is a drain on your resources and therefore adds to cost, and can also significantly damage your brand and reputation. And for pensions managers and other financial services firms there are also regulatory obligations to consider.