Merrill Lynch is the latest financial institution to move into the account aggregation market with the launch of My Financial Picture, an online service developed by Yodlee which gives customers a one-stop snapshot of all their financial accounts from a single Web page.
The service is accessible via both Merrill Lynch Online and Merrill Lynch Direct. In a new twist, the Wall Street investment bank is suggesting that full-service clients might want to share their aggregated account data with a financial consultant. Clients who do not have a financial consultant will be invited to use proprietary financial planning tools which Merrill says will be integrated into the service at a later date.
Randal Langdon, head of Merrill Lynch's digital business development group, says: "When you combine My Financial Picture's convenience and security with the level of expertise that our clients are already receiving from our online platforms and our unparalleled network of 16,000 skilled financial advisors, the user experience clearly will be second to none."
The system offers users two views: My Net Worth, which provides a consolidated view of Merrill Lynch CMA and retirement account, non-Merrill Lynch investment accounts, bank accounts, credit card balances and mortgage statements; and My Rewards, which consolidates CMA Visa Signature reward points with data from other loyalty award schemes.
Online aggregation of personal financial information is one of the hottest areas of e-commerce. Industry observers predict the service to grow to between 20 million to as many as 90 million users over the next few years. In December, the two largest aggregation service providers, Yodlee and VerticalOne, announced an alliance that will create an combined entity with more than 1.5 million accounts with approximately $10 billion in assets.