Stockbroker cuts paper chase with online ID check

Case study: TD Waterhouse speeds up business for customers

Case study: TD Waterhouse speeds up business for customers

Stockbroker TD Waterhouse has cut the time it takes to run security checks on new customers from 10 days to just 20 minutes.

As a result customers can be doing business with the execution-only stockbroker - which has 350,000 customers in the UK - much faster than previously possible.

Kevin Doherty, head of financial crime prevention at TD Waterhouse Investor Services (Europe), told "We are a financial institution regulated by the FSA and for anti-money laundering purposes we have to have a robust 'know your customer' process in place for all new accounts.

"One of the FSA's key objectives is reducing fraud and its incumbent on all financial services companies to take account of that regulation."

He added: "A lot of the fraudsters that are out there are technically sophisticated. We need to be on our guard and make sure our systems remain robust."

Doherty said TD Waterhouse's previous paper-based system was robust but "from an efficiency standpoint there could be a lot of paper chasing and it could sometimes take seven to 10 days to open an account".

Earlier this year the stockbroker migrated from its previous paper-based system of making sure customers were who they said they were, to using a customer authentication system called URU, developed by GB Group and BT, which provides online identity checks within seconds.

The URU system asks prospective clients a series of questions and compares the information gathered to a series of databases including 38 million DVLA records, 33 million UK passport records and 5,770 million international population and mortality records.

It then provides a 'match' or 'no match' report which allows TD Waterhouse to either approve or reject the application or request additional information.

The stockbroker receives up to 1,250 new applications each day.

Doherty said: "Much of the impetus [for the project] was to give us a little more efficiency from the account opening perspective and to try and improve the customer experience."

He added: "From an efficiency perspective there's much less of a paper chase. From a customer experience perspective, if they are able to go through the account opening process, they could be up and running in about 20 minutes and that's a significant improvement."