Plaid offering investment account aggregation with Quovo technology

Are the lines between cash, lending and investing starting to blur?

Jun 20, 2019 @ 2:29 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Plaid's $200 million aquisition of rival data aggregator Quovo is starting to bear fruit.

Plaid announced a new application programming interface (API) on Tuesday that allows customers to pull data from investment accounts, including accounts balances, holdings and transactions. Previously, the data aggregator's capabilities were limited to bank account information.

With the Investments API, built using Quovo's technology, Plaid's customers can start adding investment services to their apps.

Some of Plaid's customers include several popular consumer-facing financial technology startups, such as cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, PayPal's peer-to-peer payments app Venmo, and stock-trading app Robinhood. Plaid also powers digital products from several large banks.

Lowell Putnam, head of partnership and former Quovo CEO, wouldn't specify which companies are looking to add investment services, but he said he expects the lines between cash, lending and investing to start blurring. Specifically, that would mean more fintech apps venturing into digital wealth management and more traditional firms offering customers a comprehensive view of their finances and even some light financial planning.

(More: Financial firms need to standardize data so fintechs can build next-generation software)

"But that only works if you have a single source of real-time data for you to feed your algorithm," Mr. Putnam said.

Mr. Putnam said the new API also will benefit wealth management companies already using Quovo. Bringing investment account aggregation over to Plaid allowed his team to redesign several aspects of the technology based on feedback from customers.

"What we've seen is a re-bundling of services across incumbents and startups," Mr. Putnam said. For example, traditional registered investment advisers and robo-advisers alike are starting to add cash-management features.

(More: Fintechs find new focus helping clients with cash management)

"We're going to see solutions come to market from the wealth space that looks really different than what's come before," he said.

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