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eMoney Connects With Akoya to Bolster Account Aggregation

eMoney Advisor is plugging into a bank-backed data network as it seeks to lessen its dependence on screenscraping account aggregation.

eMoney Advisor is joining the Akoya Data Access Network as the first data aggregator on the platform, according to an announcement by eMoney.

Founded in 2018, the network’s investors include Fidelity Investments, the original developer of the network, and 11 large North American banks. The service connects financial data providers and financial data recipients.

Advisors and clients using eMoney Advisor and its Incentive app will be alerted to the transition, which will occur before the end of the year. 

eMoney Advisor has now transitioned “more than 60%” of all its screenscraping aggregation into an API-based system, according to a spokesperson at the firm. The firm aims to have “nearly 70%” of its aggregation occur via APIs, according to comments made by Jess Liberi, the firm’s head of product, just months ago.

eMoney Advisor’s data aggregation abilities have been a topic of concern for years and its importance is accentuated by its new financial wellness app, Incentive. Moving onto the Akoya network "took some time to get off the ground," according to a company spokesperson, who added that "eMoney’s core planning platform and Incentive use the same aggregation capability." 

Nearly two years ago, when Incentive was first introduced as Project Avocado, the firm acknowledged that its account aggregation abilities were still rough around the edges. At the time, just 28% of screenscraping aggregation had been converted to API-based aggregation. By 2020, that figure had grown to 60%.

"Unlike traditional financial data aggregation methods such as screenscraping, no consumer-permissioned data passed through the Akoya Data Access Network is copied or stored," according to material on the network's website. Screenscraping also has a tendency to produce data outages, if a data provider rearranges its website, for example, and is seen as less secure compared with API-based aggregation.

Advisors also stand to benefit from better aggregation. The Incentive app can provide advisors with salary data, aggregated assets of individual users, and which users are closer to retirement or those who have just started their careers. But users who suffer from a poor account aggregating experience are unlikely to aggregate accounts—or simply disregard the app in the first place.

In fact, the Incentive app seems to be off to a slow start, with or without Akoya’s account aggregation. There are just over 500 downloads reported on the Google Play storefront and only 16 ratings provided by users on Apple’s App Store. The app has been live since January.

Nevertheless, eMoney Advisor expects its Akoya affiliation to produce better account aggregation. “We’re leading the charge in adapting API-based aggregation to create more stable and secure connections—a common pain point for advisors,” Liberi said in a statement. “We’ve made tremendous progress over the last year, and we’re committed to increasing transparency, client control and security, leading to a better and safer client experience.”

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