Comment on Open Banking from Gavin Holt, Head of Legal Practice Probate at Co-op Legal Services

11 January 2018

Gavin Holt

Open Banking is due to come into effect on 13 January. With major banks and building societies working towards sharing financial information between themselves and other regulated financial institutions with consent from the customer, this aims to give consumers more control over their money and financial information.

Gavin Holt, Head of Legal Practice Probate at Co-op Legal Services:

“While the technology will currently be used by banks to offer customers more choice in terms of current accounts and the types of financial services they use, it could offer positive benefits to consumers who are coming into contact with banks at other key points in their life, for example when dealing with the administration of an estate, either directly, or via a firm of solicitors or other provider of probate services.

“As an executor named in a will, individuals can find themselves in a situation where they are required legally to distribute a deceased’s estate (property, money and possessions), but they don’t know where to begin. Often they may not have easy access to a comprehensive list of the deceased’s assets or accounts and today’s world of online banking can make that even more difficult, especially when there are no physical records of accounts.

“Banks have been embracing technology for a long time, and while the focus is currently on individuals who want to proactively manage their financial affairs, legal and financial institutions could work together more closely to harness this technology.

“The current process of administering probate is reliant on paperwork, but if Application Programming Interfaces could link legal and financial institutions with consent from the customer, this would enable a smoother transfer of information, supporting recently bereaved individuals at what is already a difficult time.”

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