Duo helps US financial firms comply with privacy regulations

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Acxiom and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have formed a strategic alliance to help financial institutions meet the short deadline of the privacy regulations of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB).

With stringent federal privacy regulations looming on the US financial horizon, the two companies will focus on Acxiom’s AbiliTec software as an enabler of privacy policies, practices and consumer preference procedures.

AbiliTec is CDI software powered by linking technology, and has already been adopted by the technology, financial services and retail industries to help them create a single view of their customers across the enterprise.

GLB, which came into effect in November, requires financial institutions to give their customers notice of corporate privacy policy, and a choice about how an individual’s private information is used. The deadline for full compliance is July.

The new alliance is between Acxiom and the Global Risk Management Services (GRMS) division of PwC. Under the alliance, GRMS will assess a financial institution’s consumer privacy compliance needs. Then Acxiom and PwC will work together on a joint design and implementation using AbiliTec as the compliance enabler and consumer preference solution. Once the system is in place and approved, PwC will verify the solution.

“Institutions that do not comply with the law could face stiff penalties and regulatory action, as well as loss of consumer trust,” said Jennifer Barrett, Acxiom company privacy leader. “However, the typical financial institution offers an array of different products and services, generally from a host of locations, to thousands – if not millions – of customers. Data is often fragmented and housed in disparate data silos across the enterprise. Different lines of business do not always interact with each other. Yet the institution must develop a privacy policy that comprises the full depth and breadth of its corporate identity.”

Barrett added that the task of compliance is technically intimidating for many institutions, and those that can comply quickly and successfully will have an advantage in the marketplace.

“Success will depend on how they meet the demands for new levels of sophistication, speed and accuracy in their customer data integration – qualities that are delivered by AbiliTec,” said Barrett.

AbiliTec links consumer data quickly across an institution, preventing duplication on privacy notices or other information sent to customers.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers recognizes the critical nature of customer data integration in a number of business processes necessary to the financial industry, including customer relationship management, data mining and business intelligence,” said Dr Larry Ponemon, founder of PwC’s global privacy practice. “AbiliTec goes hand-in-hand with our risk management services, which can identify a company’s compliance risks, build leading-edge compliance programs and manage the compliance infrastructure, and measure and monitor actual practices to ensure the company meets the highest standards.”

The Global Risk Management Services practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers helps clients anticipate, identify and assess business risks. Through the implementation of controls, clients are able to minimize these risks and maximize their performance by integrating strategic change, process improvements and technology solutions. Through a worldwide network of skills and resources, consultants manage complex projects with global capabilities and local knowledge, from strategy through implementation. PricewaterhouseCoopers is the world’s largest professional services organization, drawing on the skills of 150,000 people in 150 countries.

Acxiom Corporation enables businesses to develop and deepen customer relationships by creating a single, accurate view of their customers across the enterprise. Acxiom achieves this by providing customer data integration software, database management services, and premier customer data content through its AbiliTec, Solvitur and InfoBase products, while also offering a broad range of information technology outsourcing services. Founded in 1969, Acxiom is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with locations throughout the United States and with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Australia. Acxiom revenues were $1.03 billion for the 12 months ended September 30, 2000.



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