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Cleaning up facts on laundering

I refer to the article in Money Marketing, October 10) head-lined, IFAs attack Cofunds on laundering rules, which suggests that there is a “quirk” in the anti-money laundering system used by Cofunds.

As the supplier of the anti-money-laundering system that Cofunds is using, Experian would like to clarify some of the points made in your article.

First, Cofunds has quite rightly been anxious to follow the money-laundering guidance notes, which require all financial institutions to verify the identity all their new customers to stop money laundering and inhibit terrorist activity. Cofunds uses our system to verify identities and not to credit-check individuals. Our data is not used to accept or reject Isa applications.

Second, Cofunds has chosen Experian&#39s automated verification system to speed up the verification process. Instead of having to ask advisers to manually obtain proof of identity on every application, Experian&#39s database allows Cofunds to do this online in the vast majority of cases. Only where there is a lack of sufficient data or perhaps discrepancies in the data does Cofunds need to obtain additional proof. By automating their processes in this way, Cofunds has increased the speed of this mandatory process at an acceptable cost and reduced the admin burden on advisers.

Third, we expect the verification rate will improve further when the 2001 electoral roll is made available for money-laundering compliance purposes over coming weeks. Local authorities had been unable to provide Experian with the data following the Parliamentary debate over privacy issues relating to the use of the voters roll.

We are now working actively with Cofunds and many other financial institutions to help support advisers in order to communicate the reason for the new process and how they work. The system is working very successfully, ensuring Cofunds meet its compliance.

Ellen Carroll

Experian, Nottingham

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