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Different Reality


But the reality, the report said, is that only 7% of U.S. households who use the Web want the services aggregation technology can provide. In many cases, consumers are afraid to disclose the passwords and usernames for their financial accounts, which is necessary for services like T. Rowe Price's to function.

"Financial firms are blindly rushing into aggregation without a solid business model and they won't succeed," said Catherine Graeber, a senior analyst at Forrester.

That's partly because most aggregation services cost companies $90 per customer to operate, the report said. And there just aren't enough customers wanting to use the technology to make it break even.

But Kowarski said aggregation technology isn't a total lemon and can work well for larger firms such as Fidelity, Prudential and T. Rowe Price. Those firms have the marketing horsepower to function as hubs for consumers, he said. It's the smaller firms that should not try to emulate that model.

"Is it going to have an impact on financial services? Certainly," Kowarski said. "Is it something every company should adopt? Certainly not."

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