Several of the UK's biggest financial providers have been forced to put
plans for new aggregation services on hold after being warned by the FSA
they will break UK law.
Last month, Money Mark-eting revealed that six major providers were set to
launch services before the end of the year in partnership with US software
But the Yodlee model, which uses a technique called screen-scraping,
contravenes the Data Protection Act, leaving providers to wait for either a
change in legislation or a new model. Fidelity was hoping to set up an
aggregation service this summer. It now says it does not expect to see the
UK's first platforms before 2002.
Screen-scraping requires users to surrender their user names and passwords
to a third party, which then collects all account information in one place.
But terms and conditions on financial products forbid clients from
disclosing passwords, raising questions of liability in the instance of
fraud or error. Several providers were also hoping to adapt the
screen-scraping model to encompass IFAs but realised this could leave
advisers liable in case of any problems.
One UK aggregator, Acc-ount Unity, has devised a system which does not
breach data protection laws and says it is already in advanced discussions
with a major prov-ider. But many rival providers are tied into deals with
Account Unity sales and marketing director Richard Brierly-Jones says:
“Most of the aggregation companies have brought a US product over to the
UK. However, we have tailored our service for the UK market.”