Less than a year after its debut, Fidelity Investments is spinning off a business that helps consumers link their bank and investment accounts with third-party apps for financial tasks such as filing taxes and making budgets.
FMR LLC, the parent of the Boston-based financial services giant, said Thursday that the business, called Akoya, will become an independent company jointly owned with 11 banks and Clearing House Payments Co., which handles $2 trillion in daily payments through wire transfers, checks, and other methods. Akoya’s fewer than 50 employees will remain with the company after the spinout, Fidelity spokesman Stephen Austin said.
Austin declined to say how much money Fidelity spent to get Akoya off the ground. Terms of the spinoff were not disclosed.
Fidelity launched Akoya in April to make it easier for a new generation of financial apps to obtain data from its customers’ accounts at banks, brokers, and advisers. Sharing such information would often require consumers to provide the app company with their user names and passwords. Akoya’s platform allows consumers to choose which data to share with specific apps.
“After years of meetings with financial institutions, data aggregators, fintechs and policy makers, we collectively realized there was a need for a better option for the entire industry," Austin said in an e-mail. "It made sense for Fidelity, The Clearing House, and the banks to work together.”
Some financial institutions didn’t like the idea of account data flowing through a network operated by Fidelity, which competes with banks and brokers on several fronts. That resistance may have contributed to Fidelity’s decision to spin off Akoya after less than a year.
Among the banks taking part in the spinout with Fidelity are Bank of America, Capital One, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo. They are all members of Clearing House.
“This is a major step forward in giving consumers control of their data and allowing them to share that data securely with third-party applications they want to use,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup and chairman of Clearing House.
There are thousands of financial apps on the market that help users do things such as save money, track spending, and pick investments. Among the best-known are Venmo, TurboTax, Robinhood, and Credit Karma.