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The database, called the Global Regulatory Information Database (Grid), is being operated by Regulatory DataCorp International, an organisation set up in 2002 by 20 global banks, it was announced last week.
Participating banks include Goldman Sachs, American Express, Credit Suisse First Boston, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. Through Grid, the participating banks will be able to run global background checks on customers.
According to RDC, the Grid will hold information from about 1.5 million individual and business names drawn from over 22,000 international and US public record sources, including government lists, media and regulatory actions.
James Mintz Group, a New York-based company that specialises in gathering international security data, will be providing the RDC with access to regulatory agencies in more than 50 countries.
The database will be used by banks to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering regulations under the US Patriot Act.
According to a report in March this year from analyst company TowerGroup, US brokerages will spend £441m by 2005 on technology and outsourcing services to comply with the US anti-terrorism regulations.
TowerGroup estimated that 39% of this expenditure would be spent on integrating back-end systems, and 35% would be spent on new software.