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Aggregation deals on hold after a scrape with the law

Several of the UK&#39s 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

developer Yodlee.

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&#39s 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

screen-scrapers.

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.”

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