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&#3986% missing out on net opportunities&#39

Financial services companies are not making the most of the internet, according to research from the Institute of Financial Services.

At the Unisys global financial industry conference in Nice last week, the IFS revealed that 86 per cent of companies questioned in a survey had not made the most of online opportunities. It pointed particularly to account aggregation services which allow customers to access current accounts, mortgages, pensions and investments from one site with one login and password.

Only 5 per cent of respondents, including high-street banks, building societies, insurance companies and internet banks, said they were ready to offer account aggregation, leaving internet-based providers likely to clean up. Portals such as Yahoo and AOL already offer aggregation in the US and could pose a real threat in the UK market.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they are waiting for competitors to make the first move and monitor their success before embarking on their own service.

Regulation remains a major issue for account aggregation, with the FSA saying it will not regulate the activity.

Seventy-nine per cent of firms believe data aggregation needs regulating and consider an industry standard for sharing customer information would help allay fears, with 84 per cent saying they would sign up for such an initiative.

The survey covered 45 major business divisions in UK financial services and was conducted in association with banking software provider Corillian and Unisys.

IFS adviser Dr Anthony Gandy says: “The top priority for most financial organisations is still increasing cross-sales performance. With the reality of account aggregation, there is also the possibility of product aggregation, bringing together products and services from a range of financial institutions. Aggregation can assist in targeting customers with relevant products and services.”

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