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The importance of data quality and accuracy

  • 10/08/2001
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There is no doubt that technology will play an increasingly prominent part in the processing of busi...

There is no doubt that technology will play an increasingly prominent part in the processing of business transactions. One critical component of this will be the quality of data. This has, in the past, been different on the various sourcing systems, with the result that some mortgage advisers pay two monthly fees to perform their own secondary product check. This duplication of cost and effort is an unnecessary drain on intermediaries’ resources.

As sourcing systems increasingly play a part in the meeting of regulatory requirements the qual-ity of data input becomes paramount. The use of lender data is moving forward in the sales process. It divides the two key items in the sales process, for example, the data and the advice. New systems facilitate instant production of quotes and online applications. As a result, these systems migrate from being information providers to business solutions providers.

Perhaps the greatest implication of this move is the greater reliance on the core data by brokers. Lenders must update data quickly and check it more regularly as the data is being actioned and not referenced as with a paper-based system. There is also the question of intermediary confidence in the information. Lenders should not forget that any product inaccuracies reflect on the professionalism of the adviser and not with the data system or source. However, the emerging regulatory regime will transfer a significant part of this responsibility back to lenders. This will reduce the number of data sets that the lender is prepared to endorse, simply through cost and time constraints.

Another benefit of a consolidated data source is the removal of extraneous reference to the range of products available. To look at the claims of individual systems could leave you thinking there are over 6,000 products available. In reality, there are perhaps 1,200 that are divided and sub-divided by criteria and conditions and not product characteristics.

Returning to, ‘is a single data source the answer for the intermediary mortgage market?’ I am convinced the answer is no, but there needs to be greater consolidation in the market. We will always require more than one system as there will always be a divergence in the depth of data required for certain segments of the market. However, if lender data is to be trusted and used quickly in the advisers’ sales process, then lenders will spend more time checking data on just two systems.

Finally, there should not be a competitive advantage for a sourcing system in having accurate data. It will become a hygiene factor in the sales process and not the deciding factor as it is now between systems. This will be supported by new and extensive compliance regimes that will move the market towards consolidated data provision. This will be a benefit to everybody involved.


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