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SunTrust's New Planning Tool Can Provide Rude Awakening for Investors

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You may think financial planning is boring, but it's very important if you would like to have the option of not working someday.

SunTrust (STI) on Tuesday rolled out SummitView, a comprehensive new tool meant to bring all the bank's financial information under one secure umbrella for its financial planning and wealth management clients.

For starters, SummitView works with eMoney to bring information about all of a client's account information, including investment accounts outside SunTrust Investment Services, together, in order to allow the client to see their entire financial picture while making planning decisions. eMoney has relationships with many brokers and investment managers, with a secure platform to share information between institutions, according to the client's wishes.

Financial planning and wealth management clients may be especially concerned about data security, especially in light of the recent debacle at Barclays (BCS), which may have lost extremely detailed financial and other personal information for up to 26,000 clients or potential financial planning clients, who had provided the information on account applications.

In a telephone interview, Joe Sicchitano, head of financial planning at SunTrust, said SunTrust already had the financial information for its clients that would be gathered in a more succinct way through SummitView using eMoney. The data transfer from other firms is handled by eMoney, and " their security is very well known as tops in the industry," Sicchitano said.

"A customer can manually enter information if the eMoney link is not available," Sicchitano said. "They can go 'high level,' by asset type, or they can manually enter the precise positions, which would then be updated based on ticker symbol and market action."

The best setup for a customer looking to simplify a one-stop view of all his holdings is to link everything through eMoney within SummitView. "This combination of tools gives us a unique advantage in our market space," Sicchitano said.

In addition to the linking of all data for investment, savings, retirement, loan and insurance accounts, clients can include real estate holdings and even art collections, for example. Sicchitano also stressed the "non-transactional" nature of the data linking. Its purpose is to limit manual data entry by clients, to simplify discussions with financial planners and investment advisers.

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