Estatesearch, a legal technology company for private client practitioners working on bereavement and loss of mental capacity cases, and one of the founders of the Vulnerable Banking Group, has announced an industry first with the automation of its Financial Profile Service. The development will now help financial firms to comply with Consumer Duty and improve outcomes for vulnerable people.
It is estimated that there is over £200 billion in unclaimed assets in the UK. This includes £1.45 billion and rising in banks and building societies, £3.4 Billion in National Savings and Investments and £640 Million in dormant share registrations. Furthermore, there is thought to be anywhere between £15 billion and £200 billion in unclaimed pension pots and life insurance policies. Through the process of developing the Financial Profile Service, Estatesearch formed relationships with almost 200 banks and financial institutions in the UK, but it’s often still a slow process to identify assets.
“We have long been advocates of protecting those who are most at risk,” commented Jonathan Upton, Director at Estatesearch.
“Since 2018, our focus has been to help law firms identify all of the financial profiles that make up a deceased person’s estate, to provide peace of mind to executors and administrators, and to help ensure that beneficiaries receive their rightful inheritance. We quickly realised that we could apply the same thinking to Powers of Attorney or Deputyship matters, to help ensure the interests of vulnerable people were best protected too.”
Estatesearch’s award-winning Financial Profile Service gives executors, beneficiaries, deputies and attorneys peace of mind through comprehensive, efficient and demonstrable due diligence that mitigates risk and cost of missed assets or liabilities. Estatesearch has now developed an automated tool which enables data held by financial institutions to be analysed quickly, to confirm if they hold financial accounts for deceased or vulnerable individuals and to reply to personal representatives far more quickly than previously possible.
“Our Profile service is essentially a search of the financial industry to better understand a data subjects’ connection to one or more financial firms. Typically, one of our Premium Profile Searches will require notification of over 190 banks, building societies, share registrars, pension providers, investment providers and insurers to help personal representatives locate live, online, lost and dormant accounts. Currently, many financial institutions need to search multiple databases to respond to each request. Even via email, requests can take around 14 days,” confirmed Ollie Wright, Head of the Financial Institutions Team at Estatesearch.
“Therefore, in an industry first, our new Application Program Interface (API) removes the burden of data handling for financial institutions, allowing the individual institutions to automatically filter their own data by relevance to the request and see very quickly where any further investigation is required.
The results are then returned securely to our online portal, typically within 24 hours. This reduces the resources needed by banks to respond to requests and benefits representatives trying to identify and locate financial profiles of a deceased or vulnerable person’s estate, at what can be a difficult time.”
Estatesearch has already delivered the API to two major high street banks, allowing them to implement the automation tool into their own databases and cut weeks off the administration time of profile searching.
“The FCA’s new Consumer Duty principle promotes higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services and comes into force on 31 July 2023. From this date, ‘a firm must act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers’. We want to support them in meeting this principle, and firmly believe that our technology can promote best practice, particularly for those that are considered vulnerable people to ensure they are treated fairly,” Ollie Wright concluded.
For further information please visit: Estatesearch
This article was submitted to be published by Estatesearch as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.