By Marcus Stiles—Associated PressBankers, pension funds, credit unions and investment firms are using automated systems to track the assets and liabilities of customers and the people who manage them.
Now, the data-driven investment vehicles are gathering information about you.
It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s getting more attention as investors increasingly turn to financial apps to track and manage their finances.
They can be found on Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Wallet and others.
But for some, the digital money managers are an entirely new way of life, and the growing appetite for automated investment management has raised the specter of a financial apocalypse.
Investors can now see what their accounts are worth and track their performance on a variety of data feeds, and in many cases, even their assets and debt, which can include mortgages and other loans.
They are using those tools to make informed decisions about their portfolio, according to a report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which regulates investment companies.
“What I find is a lot of people are not even aware of how much data that’s being fed into their accounts,” said Robert Glynn, founder of The Value of Data.
“The reality is, you’re not even supposed to be able to see it.”
The SEC’s rulebook does not explicitly mention financial apps or their role in a financial meltdown, but financial analysts and financial companies are using them to help track financial assets and debts.
The SEC, which is overseeing FINRA, said it is not commenting on the subject.
In a regulatory filing, the SEC said in May that financial app providers must be registered with the agency.
That registration is mandatory, the filing said.
The agency said in a July filing that financial apps can be used to track investments and transactions.
“Financial apps are not a substitute for a qualified financial professional,” the filing stated.
In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have expressed concern about the use of financial apps by investors.
The Securities and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has taken a similar stance.
In July, the Fed warned investors that “investors are increasingly utilizing mobile devices to monitor their financial investments and manage portfolio risk, and are increasingly using mobile devices and financial apps as tools to do so.”
The CFTC issued a similar warning in January, noting that “an increasing number of investors are using mobile applications to track, analyze, and manage assets and financial risks and are using such apps as a way to make financial decisions.”
“The SEC has not identified any significant safety issues or risks associated with financial apps, and we have not identified specific examples of investors using these apps as financial instruments,” the CFTC said in its letter to investors.
Investment app companies have responded by saying that they are being targeted by fraudsters, and that fraudsters can easily exploit weaknesses in their technology to track their investors and gain access to their data.
But a report by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Center on the States found that in 2015, “a staggering 97 percent of app users had received no adverse results from a fraud or other improper use of their app.”
That figure rose to 89 percent in 2016, according the report.
The SEC said that some companies use apps to identify users, such as to help identify people who are at risk of identity theft, and it said it would require app companies to implement safeguards to prevent fraud.
“The use of app analytics and other analytics tools can provide valuable information about a user’s activity, including his or her financial activity and credit history,” the SEC’s complaint said.
“App analytics can also be used by app developers to identify and protect against fraudulent activity.”
But the SEC also said that app developers must maintain safeguards to protect consumers.
It also said app developers should disclose any financial information collected about a customer, including personal information about an individual, such the date of birth, address, phone number and Social Security number.
The app developers can also limit the data collected to specific customers.
The report noted that the FTC found that app companies did not always comply with the rules that apply to them.
The FTC said it investigated more than 2,000 app developers, but found that only about one-third complied with its own policies and requirements.
The companies include BlackRock, Blackstone Group, First State, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.
“Some app providers have adopted the ‘do your own thing’ philosophy in response to heightened concerns over fraud and cyberattacks.
We’ve also seen apps provide a ‘do-it-yourself’ experience, and some apps are providing an easy-to-use dashboard,” the FTC said.
While the SEC and the CFFC have not said anything specifically about app apps, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has also taken a tougher stance, saying it is reviewing the app apps it sells.