The benefits of Open Banking to advised clients

Two years on from the implementation deadline for the Second Payment Service Directive (PSD2), the driving force behind Open Banking in the UK, we’re only now starting to reap the benefits, writes Nick Eatock 

Initially banks were slow to roll out the functionality. Even after it became law, a number of the big banks failed to meet all their regulatory obligations within the specified deadlines. That delay, and the fact that different banks adopted their own standards, created additional challenges for third parties trying to access the data.

But after that slow start and having been compelled to build their solutions, banks are starting to recognise the opportunity that sharing data provides, with many offering their customers tools to aggregate accounts from other banks, and we believe we’ll see new services and richer functionality coming online quickly now.

For advisers this is good news. The push from the big banks means that awareness of open banking is growing, along with a greater understanding of the advantages it offers individuals in being able to see all their accounts, and details about income and expenditure, in one place. The logical next step is for people to share this data with their advisers, to provide a truly holistic view of the client’s financial position.

Adviser/client benefits

The benefits it provides to the adviser / client relationship are numerous. It helps with the initial fact find or mortgage application process, so rather than have to estimate monthly income and outgoings, or spend hours going through bank statements, the open banking functionality can immediately provide accurate data. Moreover, advisers can view open banking data alongside information around pensions and investments to provide a unique and accurate overview of the client’s entire financial portfolio. Clients can also set monthly budgets for spending in different categories to improve their money management and help keep their financial plan on track.

The data can also feed into other tools, for instance cashflow analysis to gain a very detailed understanding of where the client is spending their money. Having recently gone through this process with my own adviser, I found that, although my spending hasn’t materially changed since we last reviewed my outgoings, the open banking data showed that the figure I’d previously given for monthly spending wildly underestimated reality. Anecdotal feedback from advisers suggests that this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Intelliflo launched its Open Banking functionality in September, offering advisers’ clients the option to link their current accounts, credit cards and savings accounts to the Personal Finance Portal (PFP). The client is in complete control of their data, with no sharing of security information, and they decide which accounts, if any, they would like their adviser to access, but we are seeing enormous willingness to share the information. Over half of new clients added to the PFP since we launched open banking have implemented the functionality and in the first three weeks of launching open banking, advisers identified £20 million of ‘held-away’ assets.

I believe that we are just at the start of the open banking revolution. With the first wave technology from the big banks fully up and running, we expect to see a huge expansion of services that use that technology to provide ever richer information. And with access to client information across a far wider range of financial products than just those available through open banking, financial advisers and planners are perfectly placed to reap the benefits for their clients of having a truly holistic view of their finances.

Nick Eatock is CEO of Intelliflo