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Member Spotlight: Flinks


Founded in 2016, Flinks is a Montreal-based company that empowers businesses to provide better financial services to consumers and small businesses. Data security and privacy are among the company’s very top priorities.

By virtue of its information security program, Flinks invests heavily in state-of-the-art security measures and approaches its operations with a “privacy by design” mindset. These measures make the Flinks environment extremely robust from a data protection standpoint. And while Canada waits for open banking to specifically regulate the sharing of financial data, Flinks operates under and is compliant with the relevant applicable privacy laws, including PIPEDA, Canada’s federal privacy and data protection law.

All of the data handled by Flinks is collected, used and shared per the consumer’s direction, following consent protocols that are explicit and easy to understand. Consumers also have the opportunity to request Flinks to correct, update, or erase their personal information in the company’s records. In short, they are in complete control and can withdraw their consent from Flinks to share their data at any time.

Flinks CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf says implementing an open banking framework in Canada will make it even easier to secure consumers’ information and ensure their privacy. As Flinks’ Data Protection Officer Francis Lepine said in this blog post, open banking really is the modernization of existing banking policies. “Sharing bank and financial information has been a common thing to ask consumers for years. All sorts of institutions and businesses rely on void checks, bank statements and tax returns to operate and deliver services,” said Lepine. “Too often, such sensitive information is shared through email — and we’ve heard of even less secure means of communication being used.”

Flinks is enabling a financial system that benefits underserved populations, for example in the area of access to credit. While the traditional credit scoring systems work well for financially active and well-off consumers, they can inhibit companies and individuals that are just getting started, or trying to recover from financial hardship. Credit reports also are slow to capture sudden changes in a person’s financial situation; underwriting models based on financial data can allow for a more real-time, granular picture.

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Member Spotlight: Fintech Growth Syndicate


Since its founding in 2016, Canada’s Fintech Growth Syndicate (FGS) has won multiple awards and helped companies transform through corporate innovation. FGS is a trusted innovation firm for large international and Canadian corporations, visionary startups, multi-stakeholder organizations, academic institutions, and governments.

FGS’s deep fintech and financial services expertise sets it apart from other advisory firms. With a mission to revolutionize Canada’s fintech ecosystem until it becomes the best on the planet, FGS launched Maple by FGS – Canada’s most exhaustive fintech ecosystem platform.
FGS tracks and analyzes over 1,200 fintechs in Canada and uses data to help companies quickly explore customer needs and untapped business models.

FGS is actively engaged in the fintech ecosystem, staying up to date with regulatory changes, Open Banking initiatives, payment modernization updates, and more to advise and represent stakeholders’ needs in the financial industry. Along with being members of FDATA, FGS is a member of the Payments Canada Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Canadian Lenders Association (CLA), Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX), Financial Data Exchange (FDX), and the Canadian Prepaid Providers Association (CPPO).

Innovation is at the core of what FGS does – its dynamic team of fintech experts, innovators, and designers create growth strategies for Canada’s largest companies by looking at their external and internal forces, what their customers want, to provide recommendations for products and solutions. They embrace a culture of experimentation and learning focused on minimal investments to assess, define, test, refine, and validate new products.

FGS hosts a podcast, The Disrupticons, intending to explain how various innovations—from artificial intelligence to digital banking to Open Banking—will disrupt the financial services industry for the benefit of the average citizen.

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FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, [email protected]

June 2, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper – “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services” – on competition issues surrounding open finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in the United States. The paper’s release came in conjunction with a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms and Duane Pozza, partner at Wiley LLP. Click here to watch a replay of the webinar.

Consumers and small businesses in the United States have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Currently, as many as 100 million Americans utilize fintech tools to improve their financial wellbeing. Regardless of the type of product or service offered by fintech firms, all rely on the ability of the consumer or small business to grant them access to their financial data, which is typically held at a financial institution.

The paper, “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services.

Image result for paperclip iconCompetition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services 

Highlights from “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services”:

  • The innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technology.
  • As consumers and businesses face a deteriorating economic landscape, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services.
  • Competition issues cannot take a back seat as the regulatory and technological framework in data sharing continues to evolve. As open finance develops, competition laws provide a critical backstop to ensure that existing competition in the market for data-driven consumer financial services is not stifled.

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. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others

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Member Spotlight: Questrade

Questrade: Bringing More Value to Canadians

Questrade, an FDATA North America founding member, offers Canadians simpler and more affordable ways to become financially successful and secure. Founded in 1999, the firm is now the country’s fastest growing online brokerage firm, and has been named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for nine consecutive years.

While the growth in accounts is impressive, it is constrained by the fact that traditional financial institutions frequently prevent consumers and small businesses from sharing their own financial data. A system of open finance would help Questrade empower even more Canadians with the tools and opportunities to pursue their individual financial goals – providing tailored convenience while still providing the top notch security people expect from a financial services company.

Questrade is committed to the principle of financial inclusion. As part of its efforts to bring more individuals and families into the investing community, the company has worked to shine a light on a system that is normally opaque. The company has run television ads explaining how Canadians often overpay for investment fees. In the Globe and Mail, Simon Tanner, principal financial advisor with Dynamic Planning Partners in Vancouver, praised the ads, saying Questrade has “forc[ed] advisors to look at their business models and ask, ‘Am I demonstrating value for these fees?’” The company partners each year with JA Central Ontario to celebrate Financial Literacy Month by offering educational opportunities to students and recently announced a donation of one million meals to FoodBanks Canada.

Questrade has won numerous accolades for its work. In 2018 and 2019, it earned the DALBAR Seal for Service Excellence, which can only be earned after a company undergoes an audit of their customer service practices. MoneySense named the firm the best online broker for 2019.

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Member Spotlight: Wealthica

In 2015, Martin Leclair and Simon Boulet launched Montreal-based Wealthica to “challenge the status quo of financial institutions and portfolio advisers.” The company continues that mission today by helping tens of thousands of investors see all their investments on a single dashboard.

How does it work?
Wealthica automatically imports a user’s data from more than 100 Canadian investing platforms using secure application programming interfaces, or APIs. Wealthica syncs portfolio information daily, after markets close. After only five years in business, the company is tracking about $5 billion in assets.

For families, Wealthica offers a tool where groups of individuals can work together to expand their wealth and track financial goals. The family dashboard and report card can be used to help assess the impact a certain event will have on a family’s investments, for example.

To protect consumers, Wealthica offers two factor authentication as well as email notification when logging in from a new location. The company also encrypts all financial information, and Sitelock, a global leader in website security, verifies Wealthica site security every day to protect users from spam, viruses, and scams.

The remarkable thing?
Wealthica’s basic platform is free to consumers (it also is ad-free) no matter how many accounts a user tracks. That makes the platform ideal for investors who are just starting to build their wealth, or who are unfamiliar with the market.

Unfortunately, as CEO Boulet explained in this 2017 interview, “Most of the financial institutions in Canada are closed and don’t offer a simple way to share your financial data with third party applications without sharing your credentials. For most of the institutions we have to ask the user for their credentials and retrieve their data through web scraping.”

A formal Open Finance system in Canada would make it easier for investors to connect and aggregate the data from all their investing accounts into Wealthica’s dashboard and give more control to the investor over their own financial data.

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Member Spotlight: Mogo

Founded in 2003, Mogo is Vancouver-based financial technology company that offers a finance app that empowers consumers with simple solutions to help them get in control of their financial wellness.

Financial wellness continues to be the number one source of stress across all demographics and it is highest among millennials. At Mogo, users can sign up for a free MogoAccount in only three minutes. This account gets them access to six products: free credit score monitoring, identity fraud protection, digital spending account with Platinum Prepaid Visa® Card (the first product of its kind designed to help Canadians get better control over their spending while earning best-in-class cashback and having a positive impact on the environment), a digital mortgage experience, the MogoCrypto account (the first product within MogoWealth, which enables the buying and selling of bitcoin), and access to smart consumer credit products through MogoMoney.

Today the company serves over one million Canadians. The Digital Policy Institute has named the company one of Canada’s top 50 fintech companies.

Mogo’s goal is to make it easy for consumers to move away from bad money habits and begin adopting the habits that will actually help them achieve their money goals. This includes in-app educational content called “Money Class” that walks the user through the keys to each habit in a simple and engaging way. The redesigned mobile app was launched in December 2019 to give consumers a fuller view of their financial health. Through the app, consumers can:

  • Monitor and protect their credit score;
  • Control their spending;
  • Borrow responsibly; and
  • Save and invest.

When the redesigned app launched founder David Feller noted, “There is a financial health crisis in Canada and, while technology has improved our lives in many ways, unfortunately it has also made it easier than ever to overspend, leaving the majority of Canadians in debt and financially stressed as they find themselves further away from achieving their goal of financial freedom.”

Mogo’s efforts to help consumers get in control of their financial wellness are often hampered by the current banking environment in Canada and consumers’ perception and the reality of the difficulty in moving all or part of their financial needs from their current provider, typically a traditional financial institution, to a competitor, often a fintech. Consumers have come to expect a time-consuming process that creates a real and substantial roadblock for consumers to find the most well-suited financial products and services for their particular circumstances.

A well-architectured, consumer-directed finance system would provide the means to build a more confident, independent and financially free generation of Canadians who will jump at the opportunity for financial self-improvement, education and freedom.

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FDATA North America Statement on Department of Finance Canada Open Banking Report

FDATA North America Statement on Department of Finance Canada Open Banking Report

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, [email protected]

January 31, 2020, Washington, DC – The Department of Finance Canada today released Consumer-Directed Finance: The Future of Financial Services, which is the result of more than nine months of consultation with stakeholders in the financial services and financial technology sectors. Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America Executive Director Steve Boms issued the following statement upon release of the report:

“When announcing these consultations back in January, Finance Canada said Open Banking ‘could better serve consumers and grow businesses and markets, contributing to the growth of the Canadian economy.’ That absolutely is true and this report from the advisory committee makes that evident.

“Now we get to the ‘how.’ How can stakeholders work together to create a system that puts consumers in control while safeguarding their privacy and security and introduces competition into the market? We look forward to continuing to work with Finance Canada to create a system that empowers individuals, families, and small business owners to take control of their financial lives.

“As Finance Canada has made clear, creating an Open Banking regime is a must-do task for Canadian lawmakers. The private sector, however, does not have to wait to start implementing consumer-centric open banking technology and services. Financial institutions, including those currently restricting their customers’ ability to take advantage of third-party tools, like CIBC, the Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank, should not wait until they are forced to comply with government demands to let consumers be in control of their own data. They should start doing so now.”

In addition to its consultations with Finance Canada, FDATA North America has published white papers for Canadian and U.S. policymakers that outline the benefits of Open Banking and provide policy and oversight recommendations for lawmakers and regulators. “Opportunities in Open Banking” for the United States is here. The Canadian paper is here. FDATA North America analysis on the report’s findings is here.

Image result for paperclip iconDepartment of Finance Canada’s Report on Consumer-Directed Finance: The Future of Financial Services 

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. Existing FDATA North America members include: The Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others.

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FDATA North America Highlights Importance of Consumer Data Ownership Before U.S. Congress

In advance of the first hearing of the United States House of Representatives’ Task Force on Financial Technology, titled “Overseeing the Fintech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on Fintech Regulation,” the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America submitted a Letter for the Record on the importance of adopting a modernized financial regime, similar to other countries around the world, that provides consumers with the legal right to their financial data in a well-managed, safe and secure ecosystem.

To read FDATA North America’s Letter for the Record, click here.

For more information on the Fintech Task Force hearing taking place on June 25, 2019, click here.

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Financial Data and Technology Association and OpenID Foundation in Global Agreement

Not-for-profits to campaign jointly on open finance initiatives.

The OpenID Foundation (OIDF), the international standardization organization which maintains a standard known as the Financial-grade API (FAPI), and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA Global), the global trade association for companies working to promote ‘open finance’ and best practice financial data sharing, have signed a liaison agreement to enable them to work jointly across the world.

Under the agreement, FDATA Global, with chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, will lead policy efforts to implement open banking frameworks across the globe while OIDF will focus on the technology behind a digital identity solution. The agreement will:

  1. Provide a mechanism for the parties to work together on mutually approved white papers, press releases, activities, presentations and other communications;
  2. Allow participation of each party’s staff and members in the other party’s meetings, as mutually agreed by both parties;
  3. Provide a line of communications in order for the parties to communicate (without obligation and only to the extent each party chooses) about new work under consideration and about upcoming meetings;
  4. Support their common goals, including where appropriate and mutually agreed, to promote common standards across markets, and to collaborate on the development and implementation of certain standards and publications of common interest; and
  5. Avoid market confusion regarding their respective organizations and activities.

FDATA Global works with governments, regulatory authorities, and the financial services industries to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology, including advocating for the adoption of open banking frameworks and open banking standards.

The OIDF is an international standards development organization of leading identity and security architects, with a broad range of communities and companies developing open standards that enable firms and customers to safely interact in digital channels. The FAPI working group of OIDF has collaborated to produce the FAPI security profile, which is an integrated set of schemas, security and privacy recommendations and protocols which enables common connections that enable API to easily connect and for financial data to be safely shared and privacy protected.

As Open Banking and Open Finance initiatives develop across the world, the FAPI profile will be the starting point for markets seeking to reduce complexity, risk and engineering costs, making it easier for firms to connect and test their APIs.

Commenting, FDATA Global’s Chairman Gavin Littlejohn said:
“Open finance is the single biggest movement in financial services globally. It will change the world, and it will change the lives of young and old, rich and poor.

“The core components of delivering this change are the enshrining of the customer’s right to share their data, a regulatory environment that supports this right and an implementation capability that transitions the market access to high quality secure APIs.

“In the UK API initiative, the introduction of the FAPI security profile and FAPI conformance testing suites ensured that both sides of the API connection conformed to the profile. This had a transformational impact on the implementation experience, making connections easier between banks and fintech firms, making it easier for regulators to understand that security standards were being met, and greatly reduced the complex engineering and maintenance costs across the industry.

“As the Australian, Japanese, US and some of the European groups are developing their API initiatives, it is great to see the FAPI Security Profile discussed in the standardization agenda. FDATA Global is happy to be able to support the brilliant work of the OIDF and recommend that the FAPI working group output become the starting point of that conversation and a cornerstone of the implementation experience.”

Don Thibeau, Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, said:
“The development of open global standards like FAPI require the painstaking commitment and contributions of a wide variety of companies, communities and individual developers. This is demonstrated in the ongoing work of the OpenID Foundation’s FAPI Work Group and the leadership of Nomura Research, Microsoft, Intuit and many others. Open standards are only as valuable as their adoption and adoption is driven by trust.  The FAPI Self Certification Test Suite enables trust by helping assure interoperability across computing platforms and international regulatory regimes.

“Our collaboration with FDATA and others demonstrates the importance of the ongoing improvement of trusted standards and certification tests needed by a diverse and dynamic set of financial services players. Open Standards like FAPI enable the easy to use, secure and privacy protecting solutions for clients, consumers and consumers worldwide.”


  1. FDATA Global is a not-for-profit global association for financial services companies operating in fintech. Our members provide innovative financial applications and services to empower customers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments. We seek to work with government, regulatory authorities and the financial services industry in our mission to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology. We have chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, with other territories being developed.
  2. The OpenID Foundation promotes, protects and nurtures the OpenID community and technologies. It is a non-profit international standardization organization of individuals and companies committed to enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users. OIDF assists the community by providing needed infrastructure and help in promoting and supporting expanded adoption of OpenID. This entails managing intellectual property and brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID.
  3. Images of Gavin Littlejohn and Don Thibeau can be downloaded via the links.
  4. For more information on FDATA contact Andy Maciver, Message Matters, +44 (0)7855 261 244, [email protected]
  5. For more information on OIDF contact Don Thibeau [email protected] Michelle Parkes at [email protected]