High discovery tracing service helps financial institutions re-connect with legacy and historic gone aways

LONDON, ENGLAND, March 15, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — Estatetrace has officially launched its high discovery tracing service to help financial institutions re-connect with legacy and historic gone aways, dormant asset holders, and the representatives of deceased customers.

It is estimated that there are tens of billions in unclaimed assets in the UK including £1.6 Billion in banks and building societies and £4.2 billion dormant assets in National Savings and Investments. In 2022 there was £26.6 billion in unclaimed pension funds, while there are a further £640 Million in dormant share registrations[1]. Across the Financial Services industry, this relates to millions of people who are uncontactable with the held customer information. Often this is despite previous efforts to correct this data.

Andy Davies, Financial Institutions Relationship Manager at Estatetrace explains: “As custodians of assets, financial institutions face a huge challenge re-connecting with their customers or their representatives where they may have moved home, gone into care, or passed away some time ago. Institutions must ensure all reasonable attempts have been made to locate them, or the customers’ representatives where the customer has died. Often, these customer records have come across as part of mergers and acquisitions and can present difficulties when attempting to understand data provenance and previous activity. For some financial services firms, up to 20% of customer addresses are known to be out-of-date.

“Even where financial institutions know their customer is deceased, or outside life expectancy, how do they identify and repatriate assets to the correct individual without the estate initiating contact?

“The situation has been made more urgent with the Dormant Asset Scheme expansion which means that more firms will be encouraged to address money held on account that belongs to gone away customers.

“In a response to these challenges, a year ago we set up Estatetrace to help firms ensure ‘all reasonable endeavors’ have been made to identify and connect with the rightful owner before funds are passed to the Reclaim Fund Ltd and we now work with several major PLCs. Our bespoke approach, which augments human capabilities with digital capacity, means that we can select data sources on a case-by-case basis giving each customer its own full investigation and case notes. Because of this we have a proven success rate of up to +70% for case resolution, even where underlying customer information is either historic or incomplete.”

“Where a customer has been found to be deceased, we provide the current contact details of the Executor or next of kin so the financial firm can then contact them to repatriate funds. Our find rate for executors is as high as +90%. And, uniquely, because our parent company Estatesearch works with over 2,000 professional estate administration firms, who often act on behalf of numerous estates, we are in a unique position to connect financial services firms and professional executors about their mutual customer.”

Financial firms are not required to transfer any sensitive customer information to Estatetrace, they simply provide a list of names, dates of birth and last known addresses and Estatetrace does the rest. The group is ISO27001 accredited and ensures customer data is transferred, held, and maintained to industry standards.

Frequently, the burden of tracing lays fully at a Financial Institution’s doorstep. However, with the synergies between Estatetrace and parent company, Estatesearch, the cost and pro-activity is now shared. Where Estatesearch delivers a solution for professionals dealing with estate administration to identify lost or forgotten assets, Estatetrace provides Financial Institutions with a solution to re-connect with their lost customers. The resulting synergies offer a remedy for lost assets and a treatment for the underlying causes.

For financial institutions this means an immediate, and significant, reduction in gone away and deceased customer holdings, with ongoing screening at no cost and without having to port customer data outside the organisation.

Andy Davies concludes: “The launch of Estatetrace, working together with Estatesearch, now acts as a remedy and treatment for this pressing industry issue. We now help financial institutions proactively address their gone-away lists with proven high accuracy and discovery rates, ensuring good outcomes for customers.”

For further information please see: www.estatetrace.co.uk

Notes to Editor
[1]: Source: The Reclaim Fund Ltd 2022, NS&I Report 2022, Pensions Policy Institute 2022 Survey and The Dormant Assets Commission Report 2016. Total ‘Gone Away’ figures suggest a conservatively estimated £32.4bn in unclaimed assets in the UK. However, in most cases these figures are 7 or more years behind. On extrapolation, we believe that the figure could be closer to £200bn

About Estatetrace
Estatetrace provides a high-discovery tracing service, tailored to the Financial Services industry’s requirements, which ensures all reasonable attempts have been made to locate gone aways and the representatives of deceased customers. For further information please see www.estatetrace.co.uk

About Estatesearch
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 long been an advocate of protecting those who are most of risk. Estatesearch is now the largest provider of Asset & Liability Searches in the UK and has been pioneering new data and technology to help private practitioners identify assets and liabilities since 2018. For further information please see: Simplify Estate Due Diligence with Estatesearch

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