Financial services consumer contact details standard is published

31 March 2015

BSI, the business standards company has published PAS 156, Specification for the maintenance of financial services customer data which was sponsored by TISA – the financial services pan-industry association. It establishes good practice for maintaining accurate customer records in a timely manner, enabling improved customer contact, better informed decision-making from a customer perspective and the timely paying out of assets to customers or their representatives.

Communication and the payment of assets to customers rely on accurate customer data. It has been identified that over time the quality of the customer data in the financial services industry has been adversely affected by both extensive consolidation of businesses within the industry and by a lack of effective maintenance through system changes or migrations. 
The regulations across the industry provide a level of guidance, allowing firms some flexibility in which to manage their business when interpreting  such phrases as ‘maintain’, ‘timely manner’ and ‘reasonable steps’. The standard adds detail and steps that support the guidance and provides a framework to bring consistency in interpretation of the guidance.

What PAS 156 covers:

  • The minimum requirements for achieving and maintaining customer contact
  • Primary and, where present, secondary data to be captured and maintained by financial services organizations
  • Ways of establishing contact with lost customers and beneficiaries
  • Business history profiling including high level details of any organizational changes, such as mergers and acquisitions, which may have affected the way in which customers know and contact the financial services organization
  • Timeframes for any review and if required, updating of customer contact data 
  • The organization’s data quality management (DQM) policy

Dan Palmer Head of Market Development for Services at BSI said: “Experts from a broad section of the financial services industry came together to develop this guidance. The result is a document that can be used by financial services organizations such as banks, building societies, life and pension providers, insurance companies and investment funds that hold and maintain customer information. It can also be used by third party administrators who manage customer’s assets/data on behalf of any of these organizations.”

PAS 156 does not cover:

  • Initial data capture and its accuracy
  • Data and accuracy in respect of customers’ financial assets
  • Technology used for data storage, data transformations and data transmissions
  • Data protection
  • Bankruptcy data
  • Anti-money laundering (AML) requirements
  • Bodies corporate
  • Financial services organizations that are authorized and regulated outside the UK

Carol Knight Operations Director at TISA said: “Unclaimed assets and money is a significant and growing problem for the financial services sector. Companies are making the effort to trace lost customers but there are concerns that we could be underestimating the extent of the problem. We initiated our Data Quality project in 2013 to address this issue, respond to the need for guidance on what constitutes good practice and to define the standards that could be adopted to ensure a consistent industry solution. I am delighted that we have been able to progress this work with BSI, culminating in the publication of these guidelines. Organizations now have the clarity on the minimum requirements to address this problem.”

Some of the experts involved in the development of PAS 156 include: BNY Mellon, Capita, Equiniti, Friends Life, IFDS, Independent International Organisation for Certification, JP Morgan Asset Management, Legal & General Portfolio Management Service, Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA), The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), Prudential, Target Professional Services (UK) Ltd, Threadneedle and Tracesmart (LexisNexis).

Nigel Banfield Technical Author for PAS 156 said: “These standards will enable all sectors of the industry to provide a consistent approach to managing customer data. It will also provide customers with increased confidence that firms have the tools to protect their financial interests.  It's been a pleasure to work with TISA, BSI and industry representatives in delivering PAS 156. It's rewarding to see a topic I first presented on in 2011 result in something that has the ability to raise standards and reunite more assets to customers.”