Financial Services

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Member Spotlight: Morningstar


Morningstar empowers investor success by providing independent investment data, research, and analysis to investors of all kinds. This spirit of independence and transparency ignited in 1984, when Joe Mansueto left his job as a stock analyst. He realized that investors lacked the information they needed to make intelligent decisions about which investments best fit their plans. At the same time, he saw mutual funds growing in popularity as the tides were shifting away from company pensions to 401(k) plans. What was missing, he thought, was investment research for the average investor. Joe turned his idea into a new business with high aspirations—to help investors reach their financial goals.

Today, Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $260 billion in assets under advisement and management as of September 30, 2021. Morningstar is a global firm with operations in 29 countries.

Individual investors use Morningstar to make educated investment decisions. These investors want pertinent facts they can trust from an independent source, delivered in easy-to-understand formats. Financial advisors and other investment professionals turn to Morningstar for tools that help them research, analyze, present, and support their investment ideas. Morningstar’s research, analytics, and investment management services help advisors make more efficient use of their time and deliver better investment outcomes to clients.

The backbone of Morningstar’s independence and transparency is its commitment to research that illuminates investing. Recently published research available on www.morningstar.com includes:

  • The “Morningstar Sustainable Investing Framework” provides the critical need for clarity in the rapidly growing environmental, social, and governance investing space.
  • Morningstar’s behavioral science team recently published, “Drivers of Savings Inequality by Race and Place,” on factors that influence the differences in savings rates in American households.
  • Newly published, “The State of Retirement Income,” reassesses safe withdrawal rates for retirees, finding that the standard rule of thumb should be lowered to 3.3% from 4%.

Morningstar® ByAllAccountsSM and FDATA
Morningstar ByAllAccounts is a data aggregator built to deliver high-quality, interoperable account data for the complex needs of the wealth management industry. It works closely with the FDATA Community and is the only aggregation provider that focuses exclusively on investors, advisors, and the enterprises who support them.

“At ByAllAccounts, the data we provide our customers is mission critical to powering holistic financial planning,” says Katy Gibson, head of product for Morningstar ByAllAccounts. “As such, we are big proponents of open banking because it gives us the ability to connect to reliable and secure data sources with minimal connectivity disruptions. As members of FDATA we will continue to advocate for the investment use case, ensuring the unique needs of investors and professionals that serve them are met.”

For more information on Morningstar and Morningstar ByAllAccounts, click here.

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Member Spotlight: MX


Founded in 2010, MX helps organizations everywhere connect to consumers’ financial data to deliver intelligent and personalized money experiences. MX leads the industry with the most secure, reliable and direct API connections to the world’s top financial institutions using the most advanced AI and machine learning enhancement engine to categorize transaction data with 98 percent coverage. By connecting with 16,000 financial institutions and fintechs, MX provides the industry’s most reliable and secure data connectivity network reaching more than 200 million consumers worldwide.

MX has been a leader in the open banking movement in North America with their approach to modern connectivity. Chief Advocacy Officer, Jane Barratt, explained to Bankrate, “Open banking isn’t something that you only need once when you apply for a mortgage. It means you can use the data that you have, it’s yours, and [you can] share it with companies that can help you improve your financial health. Whether it’s access to cheaper forms of credit, use different money management tools or whether it’s to set up direct payments. There are [numerous things you can do to make] your money more automated and it is all based on data availability.”

With the launch of MXaccess, MX provides an open finance API platform for banks, credit unions, digital banks and digital banking providers. MXaccess improves the data sharing experience for customers by removing friction and frustration due to broken connections caused by screen scraping and provides a transparent and secure method to share data.

In addition to improving the data sharing experience for the financial industry’s ecosystem, Tearsheet recently honored MX with its Best Aggregator/Fintech Partnership Award for 2021. MX won the award for its work with FormFree, a technology company that improves lenders’ ability to make more informed decisions about borrowers and minimizes lenders’ risk via a seamless loan application experience for borrowers. By using MX’s modern connections, the average aggregation time for FormFree connections fell 89 percent, declining from an average of 3 minutes and 30 seconds to just 22 seconds. This improvement boosted FormFree’s revenue by 15 percent.

MX’s CEO Ryan Caldwell has made it clear that MX is on a mission to improve the financial ecosystem by increasing trust, managing risk and enabling the exchange of customer data to improve outcomes and financial health. Last year, Caldwell explained to KSL.com that 80 percent of the U.S. workforce lives paycheck to paycheck causing individuals and families to feel “real pain” and serious stress. MX is helping ease that pain by working with traditional financial institutions and fintechs to aggregate accounts and credit cards into one platform making it easier for individuals and families to make data-driven decisions and become financially strong.

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FDATA North America Joins Industry Trade Groups in Letter to Department of Finance on Implementation of Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Open Banking Report

November 10, 2021, Washington, DC – Last week, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America, along with the Paytechs of Canada Association and the Canadian Lenders Association (CLA), sent a joint letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland requesting that the Department adopt the phase one and two recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Open Banking report and urging its public support for the same.

In the letter, the groups, whose organizations represent nearly 250 financial technology companies, emphasize the importance of swift implementation of the recommendations to ensure Canada remains competitive in the global market. Countries around the world, from the United Kingdom and New Zealand to Australia and the United States, have seen marked improvements in financial access and inclusion through open finance products delivered by technology-based financial services providers. “By contrast, Canadian consumers or small businesses have no legally binding right to their own financial data, which stifles competition and innovation in the financial services marketplace,” the groups state. 

Additionally, the groups state that a delay of implementation of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations open the door for some of Canada’s large financial institutions to dismiss the government’s intention to deliver open finance in line with the report’s recommendations, which undermine the certainty around the commitments.

“It is critically important that the government confirm to financial institutions, financial technology companies, and Canadian consumers and small businesses its intention to implement an open finance regime in line with all of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations,” the groups state. Specifically, they point to the appointment of an open banking lead “as soon as possible,” creating a legally binding financial data right, and beginning work on the Advisory Committee’s second phase, “which must include payment initiation and account creation capabilities, as well as a formal governance entity.” 


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Finansystech, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: Basis Theory


According to Government Technology magazine, there were more than 1,900 data breaches in the United States in 2020. In 2019 and 2020 alone, about 16 billion records were breached, and the average cost for a single breach is $7.7 million for companies with less than 500 employees. Breaches also grew in severity between 2019 and 2020.

At the same time, there are projected to be more than 25 billion internet-connected devices online by the end of this decade. That means more data. In fact, the quantity of data creation is expected to increase to more than 180 zettabytes over the next five years.

These numbers boggle the mind — and they put consumers, businesses, and policymakers on edge.

Enter Basis Theory.

Basis Theory has built a developer platform for encryption and tokenization that can accommodate any type of data (including sensitive payments data). The company, launched in 2021 and fully distributed, helps financial services and financial technology clients stay in complete control of their customer’s data without taking on the compliance burden. The company was built during the COVID-19 pandemic, when, overnight, consumers become even more reliant on technology to shop, order take out, see their doctor and, of course, bank. Over those months of isolation, founders Brian Billingsley, Colin Luce, and Ben Milne and their team of engineers “built a secure PCI-compliant foundation to enable the collection and storage of payments data” on the Basis Theory platform.

Milne has written that he, Billingsley, and Luce wanted to create a company that could “offer a product to developers globally to help make protecting data easier.” Why? As he explained, “In many cases it’s not just about securing data at rest in all of these devices but about enabling privacy for end users ensuring their data only goes to third parties who are capable of protecting it. That’s a trend [that] will continue until it’s solved by a company or a protocol, but more likely some combination of both.”

Basis Theory also helps its clients:

  • Adhere to privacy regulations and comply with new and upcoming regulations, domestically and internationally, including PCI and the new Nacha rules;
  • Optimize payments acceptance;
  • Safely secure and manage user credentials and third-party API keys; and
  • Secure any data, document, or image a client does not want stored in plaintext.

Basis Theory became a part of FDATA North American and the North American open banking movement to “ensure the safety, security and privacy of the continued proliferation of data sprawl and not let any associated concerns stifle innovation within financial services”.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US House Consumer Protection Subcommittee on the Future of Banking

September 29, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted a letter for the record for the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hearing “The Future of Banking: How Consolidation, Nonbank Competition, and Technology are Reshaping the Banking System.” The letter outlines FDATA North America’s mission to advocate for a financial ecosystem in which the end user has complete utility of their financial data.

Throughout the letter, FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms highlighted the steps necessary for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to promulgate, by rule, a customer financial data right that will spur greater financial services innovation and competition as well as improve consumer financial access and inclusion and the importance of the subcommittee in . “As the CFPB works to promulgate a proposed rule under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act to improve competition in the financial services system, we hope that the subcommittee will continue to examine this vitally important space and encourage the Bureau to use its statutory authority to create a customer-centric, safe, competitive, and secure open finance system in the United States,” Boms stated.

To accomplish the goal of leveling the playing field for consumers and small businesses, expanding financial access and inclusion, improving competition in the financial services marketplace and, on a global level, ensuring that the United States’ financial services system remains competitive internationally, FDATA North America outlined its recommendations to the Bureau that it utilize its Section 1033 authority to issue a rule that adheres to five key principles:

  1. Create a legally binding customer financial data right;
  2. Define and clear enumerate the limited circumstances in which custodians of financial data may override customer consent;
  3. Supervise financial data aggregation firms;
  4. Coordinate with the prudential regulators on Regulation E modernization; and
  5. Recognize the need to permit current and legacy technology

Boms noted that the combination of these principles “would provide consumers and small businesses with safe, secure access to their financial data and, by extension, to critically important financial applications and tools that can meaningfully improve their financial wellbeing.”

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Letter for the Record on the Future of Banking


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to House Fintech Task Force on Data Access

September 20, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted a letter for the record for the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Financial Technology’s hearing “Preserving the Right of Consumers to Access Personal Financial Data.” The letter outlines FDATA North America’s mission to advocate for a financial ecosystem in which the end user has complete utility of their financial data.

Throughout the letter, FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms discussed the importance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) utilizing the authority vested in it under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to promulgate, by rule, a consumer financial data right that will spur greater financial access and inclusion. “FDATA North America has been encouraged by two important developments” that advance Section 1033, including:

  1. The issuance of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking by the [Consumer Financial Protection] Bureau (CFPB) pertaining to consumer access to financial records late last year; and
  2. Inclusion in President Joe Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy language that encourages the CFPB  to consider “commencing or continuing a rulemaking under section 1033 to facilitate the portability

Promulgation of Section 1033, Boms stated, comes at a critical moment whereby countries around the world are quickly embracing the notion that the customer should be in control of their own financial data. “The status quo, under which financial institutions continuously exercise control over their customers’ data, provides little benefit to the consumer or small business,” Boms noted. Additionally, innovation and competition in the financial services marketplace are stifled under the current environment that is controlled by commercial interests, prohibits the move to a modernized customer-centric, safe and secure open finance system in the United States.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Letter for the Record on Data Access


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: Interac


In 1984, Canada’s top financial institutions came together to create Interac Association, a cooperative venture dedicated to giving Canadians broader access to their money through a single shared network. Twelve years later, eight of the founding institutions created Acxsys Corporation, a new entity that would develop new business partnerships and services for financial transfer, online payments, and international services.

To better fund innovation and reduce certain business, operating and legal complexities, the two entities reorganized in 2018 to form Interac Corp. Today, Interac is one of the most trusted financial service brands in Canada, operating an economical, world-class debit payments system with broad-based acceptance, reliability, security, and efficiency, helping more than 30 million Canadians families and businesses feel more in control of their money.

The Interac team are natural collaborators. They know that the benefits of co-operation outweigh the risks of fragmentation. The diversity of thought that exists when companies (and even competitors) come together produces better outcomes and solutions. Interac is a proud member of FDATA North America and is actively working with industry and government colleagues across the ecosystem to explore open banking solutions for Canadians.

The financial services company’s Innovation Lab and New Ventures team has a mandate to look ahead at the company’s three plus year horizon for new innovations. They research, develop strategies and pilot new solutions before taking them to market.

A foundational requirement of emerging solutions is to build consumer trust. Canadians need to trust that new technology is not only secure, but that it will provide meaningful benefits in their lives. A recent Interac survey found being in control of their financial data is important to 90 per cent of respondents, and more than half said a new financial data sharing option will “greatly benefit” Canadian consumers.

At Interac, leaders share in this optimism for open banking to support consumer needs and they are committed to collaborating with financial institutions and fintech companies and serving as a bridge for the ecosystem. The team sees great promise for Canada’s future open banking framework to enable the development of data-driven products and services that will increase access to affordable solutions tackling pressing personal and business needs such as debt reduction, benefits processing, financial planning, and the provision of faster loans.

Oscar Roque, VP, Strategy and Emerging Solutions at Interac, sees an opportunity to form a minimum viable ecosystem (MVE) for open banking, grounded in a clear, easy, and transparent consent experience. “Our collective participation in building an MVE will set the stage for data portability and empower Canadians to take control of their data – all for the betterment of our society.”

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to Ontario’s Privacy Protection Engagement Consultation

September 3, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America submitted comments to Ontario’s consultation on efforts to strengthen and modernize privacy protections in the province. 

In its comments, FDATA North America called on the Ontario government to include a legally binding financial data access and portability right in any forthcoming data protection legislation or regulation. Executive Director Steve Boms pointed to other countries around the world who have provided legally binding data access, privacy, and portability regimes for their citizens and pointed to existing statutory and regulatory protections that work towards achieving this goal. “Ontario, and Canada more broadly, must support the rights of individuals to access and transfer their financial data, through data portability, to keep pace with other international standards that consider this right to be a key feature of a modern privacy regime,” Boms noted. 

In order to build an ecosystem in which Ontarians’ financial data is protected while providing for the right to benefit from data access and data portability rights, Boms highlighted the importance of competition and adequate protections for data privacy and security in a data-driven financial services ecosystem. Doing so will deliver lower costs, better services, and better outcomes for consumers’ and small business’ financial outcomes, he stated. Boms noted that approximately four million Canadians already utilize at least one financial technology application which relies on consumer consent and enables them to control which providers they allow to access their data, how their data is being used, and when access to their data is revoked. 

Boms concluded by noting that while the federal government moves forward slowly, Ontario can – and should – provide for stronger financial data access rights for its residents more quickly. 

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Submission to Ontario Government on its Privacy Protection Engagement Consultation


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Marble, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: M Science


M Science is a groundbreaking analytics firm that provides research, data, and pioneering methodologies to financial institutions and corporations. Their experts take unstructured data in near real-time and discern critical insights that help clients make smarter, more informed business decisions. Specifically, the firm provides:

  • Data-driven research that leverages data and domain expertise to provide in-depth analysis and insights on public and private companies.
  • Direct access to experts for more in-depth research and insights.
  • Data analytics that enable investment management and corporate clients to integrate curated data into their own workflow and process.
  • Data dashboards, in a web-based, on-demand platform hosting multi-sourced data feeds that are curated and customizable to clients’ needs.

Founded in 2002, the company serves clients around the world from offices in New York, Portland, London and Hong Kong.

A cornerstone of M Science’s offering is its compliance first approach to partnerships though its comprehensive due diligence program and commitment to consumer privacy.

At the core of M Science’s mission is the belief that data can revolutionize the way the world does business. In a June 2020 Forbes column, M Science’s Michael Marrale explained, “By creating insights derived from disparate datasets and expertly synthesized by alternative data analysts, operators and investors have granular visibility into company business operations.”

The alternative data M Science provides also has revolutionized the marketplace for institutional investors. In an April 2019 Marketwatch column, Marrale said, “Alternative data provides investors with a greater degree of transparency into how companies are performing. From purchase data that tracks retail sales, to social analytics that measure online brand popularity, to geo data that measures locations and traffic, investors can now take a much deeper look into business operating fundamentals in a way our research landscape didn’t previously allow.”

M Science continues to use their insights to help businesses navigate shifts caused by COVID-19, most recently by launching a new Retail and Consumer Brands Intelligence Platform. Leveraging tested analytic models and a myriad of data inputs, the solution delivers insights to more than a dozen industries including Animals and Pet Supplies, Apparel, Garden and Home, Sporting Goods, and Toys and Games. The platform’s focus on ecommerce makes it a valuable tool for traditional retailers and brands, as well as DTC and online-only players. As noted by Head of Product Elizabeth Coleman, this information will prove “more valuable than ever” as players in the space try to address shopping behaviors changed by the pandemic.

In addition to providing a revolutionary approach to data and research, M Science is an industry leader in its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Indeed, this commitment fuels an innovative mindset within the company. M Power, M Science’s diversity taskforce steers recruiting and educational initiatives to foster diverse perspectives and an environment that drives better results. M Science also is proud to collaborate with American Corporate Partners (ACP), a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping military veterans transition to the private sector through one-on-one mentoring relationships with corporate professionals.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to Alberta’s Privacy Protection Engagement Consultation

August 18, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America submitted comments to Alberta’s consultation on efforts to strengthen and modernize privacy protections in the province. 

In its comments, FDATA North America called on the Alberta government to include a legally binding financial data access and portability right as it considers how best to promulgate data privacy standards in the province. FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms noted that a holistic and evidence-based approach should be taken “that recognizes the importance of data access and portability for consumers and small businesses across the province” while taking into account the realities of modern technology and digital business. 

In order to build an ecosystem in which Albertans’ financial data is protected while providing for the right to benefit from data access and data portability rights, Boms highlighted the importance of competition and adequate protections for data privacy and security in a data-driven financial services ecosystem. Doing so will deliver lower costs, better services, and better outcomes for consumers’ and small business’ financial outcomes, he stated. Boms noted that approximately four million Canadians already utilize at least one financial technology application which relies on consumer consent and enables them to control which providers they allow to access their data, how their data is being used, and when access to their data is revoked. 

Boms concluded by noting that while the federal government moves forward slowly, Alberta can – and should – provide for stronger financial data access rights for its residents more quickly. 

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Submission to Alberta Government on its Privacy Protection Engagement Consultation


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Marble, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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