Digital Innovation and Data Protection

Digital Innovation and Data Protection – What does this bill mean for open finance?

The Data Protection and Digital Innovation Bill is a piece of legislation that is currently being discussed in the UK Parliament. The bill has been introduced in response to concerns over data protection and privacy in the digital age while also pushing innovation forward to provide greater protection and rights for individuals' personal data.

One thing everyone should be excited for is smart data (aka open finance). Open finance refers to the practice of sharing financial data between different financial institutions, platforms, and services, with the aim of providing consumers with greater control over their financial data and access to a wider range of financial products and services.

But what about the UK Open Banking Standard? Open finance builds upon Open Banking but takes the principles first established by Open Banking and expands them to include pension, mortgages, investments, and much more data.

At present, open finance is already subject to various data protection laws and regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018. However, the Data Protection and Digital Innovation Bill is set to introduce a range of new measures that could have a significant impact on the open finance sector.

Data Portability

The part of the Bill we are most excited about is the introduction of new rules around data portability. Data portability refers to the ability of individuals to transfer their personal data between different service providers and is a key component of open finance. The bill will require financial institutions to provide consumers with the ability to easily transfer all their financial data to other providers, while also ensuring that this data is transferred securely and in accordance with data protection regulations. Without these new rules around data portability, open finance will not happen.

We do not know if the data will be shared via APIs or other methods, however, no matter which technology is leveraged, the new consumer right to port all their financial data is key to the success of open finance in the UK.

Data Privacy and Security

Another key aspect of the bill is the introduction of new requirements around data privacy and security. The bill will require financial institutions to implement robust data privacy and security measures to protect consumers' personal data, including measures to prevent unauthorised access, use, and disclosure of this data. Financial institutions will also be required to implement measures to detect and respond to data breaches in a timely manner. Without robust data protection, adequate consumer protection innovations like open finance and Open Banking would not work. Consumers need to trust that the products and services they use to better understand their financial lives meet the highest level of security and safety.

Data sharing and usage

Financial institutions will be required to provide consumers with clear and concise information about how their personal data is being used, and to obtain explicit consent from consumers before sharing their data with third parties. These requirements are not new, open banking introduced these requirements more than 6 years ago. Over the last 6 years we have seen the benefit to consumers on having clear and concise information presented to them, especially when it concerns their personal data.

Overall, the Data Protection and Digital Innovation Bill will have a significant impact on the open finance sector in the UK. While the bill aims to provide greater protection for individuals' personal data, it is also likely to introduce new challenges for firms as they seek to comply with these new regulations. However, if implemented effectively, the Bill could help to strengthen consumer trust in open finance, while also promoting greater innovation and competition in the financial services sector.

Here at Envestnet® | Yodlee® we are excited about the next phase of open banking. As one of the few open finance providers today, we are working with industry to understand how we can take our current open finance products and services and make sure they are fit for the future state. We will continue to see how this bill develops and work with the industry, government, and regulators to make open finance a reality.

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