Guide Financial, the financial planning startup acquired by John Hancock in June 2015, told its users via email this week that the company plans to discontinue operations on October 11.
Intuit Aggregation Wake
Guide Financial is the first financial adviser technology provider that I know of that has decided to close its operations in the wake of Intuit’s announcement that it is discontinuing its Financial Data APIs for account aggregation. Those APIs will be maintained only for current production developers until November 15, 2016, Intuit said in an email to developers.
In a phone call with Guide Financial, I learned that the company first attempted to contact as many advisers as possible by phone to communicate the news, and those who were not able to be reached received an email with the details of the shutdown on Thursday.
In the email, the company noted that Intuit had recently announced the discontinuation of the account aggregation services that powered the Guide Financial Service. But in my post from March 2015, How Intuit’s account aggregation shutdown may impact the fintech solutions you use, Intuit told developers that Finicity would be providing façade APIs to facilitate the transition from Intuit to Finicity for aggregation services. Guide Financial did not comment on the option to transition to aggregation provided by Finicity.
No Data Exports
In the weeks prior to the shutdown, Guide Financial users will not have the ability to request an export of their data contained in the system. Generally, data on clients is limited to basic demographic information and is likely to be found in other systems used by advisers, such as CRM and portfolio management software, so an export of that data would not be useful in most circumstances. Guide Financial said that transaction data aggregated from financial institutions will not be made available.
Guide Financial has offered a brief FAQ on its website regarding the transition, and additional questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
For alternatives to Guide Financial, I can think of a few financial planning and financial dashboard solutions that perform account aggregation to update financial plans. The list of the solutions are below:
- eMoney Advisor, $1,944 to $3,888/year depending on features, including aggregation and an online client dashboard
- Right Capital, under $1,000/year including aggregation
- MoneyGuidePro, $1,295/year (I think aggregation is an additional $365/year, but I’m not 100% sure, and clients do not see an online dashboard for their outside accounts)
Note: I originally listed Balance Financial in the list of alternatives above, but I have not been able to connect with them for any updates. Also, their website’s terms and conditions have not been updated for two-and-a-half years (last updated January 28, 2014). Until I connect with someone at Balance, I’ll keep them listed in this note and not as a viable alternative to Guide Financial.
There are other solutions that perform aggregation (ByAllAccounts, Aqumulate, Quovo, Blueleaf, Wealth Access, etc.), but they generally don’t also have financial planning capabilities built directly in to the program.
If you can think of other solutions that should be on this list, contact me (or tweet me @billwinterberg) and I will update this list.
Last updated: August 30, 2016 at 11:54 AM ET