Vestigium is making real inroads into the issue of Gone Away Customers and provides a Solution for the Financial Services sector

Gone Aways*

The scale of Gone Aways is immense, reflecting some +10% of all customers at Life and Pensions companies and +5% of all customers in Asset Managers and Banks. Our evidence highlights that this number is increasing, yearly, and suggests that 15% of these Gone Aways are in fact deceased.

Many in the industry do little to contact the Estate/Beneficiaries of those customers who are known to be deceased, simply awaiting reengagement initiated by their customers’ beneficiaries (which can only occur if the beneficiaries are aware about the policy/asset, which in far too many instances is not the case).

The Industry could focus on improving its reputation and obligations by doing more to bring awareness to beneficiaries and reuniting customers with lost assets.

*For the avoidance of doubt, our definition of a Gone Away is someone that an Institution knows is not at the address on file.

Actions to Date and Why the Gone Away Problem is so Acute.

Businesses in the industry that have started to address this issue have engaged with companies which provide Digital Linked Address Matching Services (or carry out Digital Linked Address Matching themselves).

This process involves comparing a file of their customers’ name and last known address information to that of available data from companies like credit reference agencies. Digital Linked Address Matching is ineffective where databases are themselves not accurate or, with an increasing population mobility, where people have moved out of the area or relocated overseas.

The Death register typically has the name of the hospital and last known address (which could be a Care Home) the customer may have moved since taking out the policy/investment etc. Mortality screening uses Digital Linked Address Matching, so the lack of accuracy here should be of concern to those employing this service.

It is important to note that whilst Digital Linked Address Matching may provide some frequency of results, the standard operating procedure is to provide the client with a ‘residency score’ or ‘gold, silver, bronze’ assurance levels.

The weakness of Digital Linked Address Matching is evidenced by the number of Gone Aways left at an institution following the regular employment of these services.

Many of these updates will in fact be erroneous and cause an institution to spend time and effort, with unnecessary cost, writing to invalid addresses. The true success of the Digital Linked Address Matching can only be ascertained following a re engagement process.

Most in the Industry stop after this step suggesting ‘nothing more can be done’.

At Vestigium, we are doing more.

Vestigium Services’ Industry Solution

Vestigium ‘raises the bar’ and offers an industry solution.

Vestigium has industrialised the process of forensic tracing for the purpose of asset reunification and/or re-engagement with Gone Away customers, specifically targeted to the Financial Services Industry. This reduces the scale of the issue, fast.

Vestigium’s methodology is to implement researcher- guided forensic tracing, querying combinations of in excess of 50 data sources on an individual basis to trace a known ‘Gone Away’ individual from their record-held address, to the address which they currently reside at.

Vestigium follows individuals through their address history, confirming at each stage. This is important as some individuals have been ‘Gone Away’ for years and their personal circumstances will have changed a number of times (this can include name changes as well as address changes or expatriation).

The current address is confirmed using recently renewed data sources such as electoral roll, telephone records, information on insurance products bought at the property and open source intelligence, amongst other methods.

When a Gone Away is found to be deceased, this is confirmed using DDRI, HALO, GRO, Probate records. Other genealogical methods may be used in the cases where the Gone Away has been deceased for some time.

Vestigium’s track record is to immediately find c.50% of a file not able to be found by Digital Linked Address Matching, with greater numbers over time. Of the 50% found immediately, Vestigium’s track record identifies c.30% are deceased.

Vestigium works to a targeted 99% accuracy for its results, and only charges for success.

Vestigium classifies data into 3 categories; ‘found’, ‘pending’, and ‘never likely to be found’.

For those customers classified as ‘found’, Vestigium provides the new details to its clients to enable them to re-engage.

‘Pending’ means that, in Vestigium’s view, the record held data is adequate for an eventual match, but the customer has yet to emerge into view on data sources to Vestigium’s confidence level of c.99% (an example of this is where a customer has recently moved and is yet to appear on data sources at the new address). Vestigium provides a Repository where these details will sit and are re-researched over time (as data sources renew and become increasingly comprehensive) until a current address can be confirmed.

For the Industry this is Live-Archiving, where the Industry hasn’t given up but awaits consumers re-connecting. Vestigium believes this continual method helps institutions meet regulations including the FCA’s Principle 6 and Treating Customers Fairly.

Vestigium will sign off ‘bad data’ as never likely to result in a match, so that clients can be confident in discontinuing spending resources on these records.

Deceased Customers

Vestigium is aiding its clients by tracing the next-of-kin, or Executors of deceased customers, to a current address.

Where customers of institutions have left probate, Vestigium will purchase the Will from the government and trace the named Executor to their current address, using the methods outlined above.

Vestigium provides its clients with both the current contact information for the Executor and a copy of the Will/Probate documentation.

For those customers who haven’t left Probate, Vestigium employs genealogical methods combined with our tracing methods to locate the nearest available next-of-kin at a current address.

Vestigium works to provide information for the next-of-kin of deceased customers, along with their relationship to the deceased (e.g. sister/niece/spouse etc.).

Vestigium’s Current Client Base

Vestigium works with caring financial service organisations including: JP Morgan, BNY Mellon, AberdeenStandard, Invesco Perpetual, Equitable Life, Janus Henderson, amongst others.

Vestigium has also contracted exclusively with Transfer Agencies such as SS&C and BNY Mellon to provide an end-to-end solution for mutual Clients.

Data Security and Due Diligence

Vestigium has passed due diligence with all its Financial Services Clients.

Vestigium operates in the environment of secure UK-based Tier III data centres. Vestigium is ISO 27001 accredited and fully GDPR compliant.

A due diligence FAQs document is available at request.

Further Questions

If you have any queries, please contact us on the below details:

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