Inferior quality data is costing banks millions

UK investment banks are losing hundreds of millions of pounds every year due to poor quality data and the cost of maintaining...

UK investment banks are losing hundreds of millions of pounds every year due to poor quality data and the cost of maintaining numerous databases, an analyst report has warned.

Ageing IT systems and inaccurate data have pushed up trading costs for financial services firms and made it harder to comply with corporate governance regulations, according to the Accenture report, Data Management: The Quest for Quality.

The capital markets industry spends between £1.1bn and £1.7bn each year on maintaining its data, said Accenture.

According to analyst firm the Tower Group, 45% of trades that cannot be settled, known as trade exceptions, are caused by incomplete data on customers and transactions.

"Part of the problem is technological," said the Accenture report. "Legacy systems, data silos, merger activity and other factors have prevented capital market firms from taking advantage of the latest data management tools."

Other IT-related problems highlighted included the large number of settlement systems across the sector and difficulty in tracking the progress of trades.

The report recommended that banks improve the accuracy of their databases through data cleansing or data scrubbing software. It also advised firms to use a single browser-enabled database that can act as the definitive source of information and feed into all other databases.

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