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Financial services organisations started shifting from denial to action in 2015.

Xignite

Q&A with Stephane Dubois, Founder and CEO, Xignite Inc.

Please give us a bit of background on yourself, and how your organisation plays a leadership role in the financial technology space.

I started Xignite more than 10 years ago after a 20 year career in Silicon Valley around enterprise software (Oracle) and investment management software (Advent Software). I fell into the data business when trying to build a wealth management platform and running into much pain and complexity trying to source and integrate financial market data into our application. To us, using XML APIs to deliver data seemed like the natural thing to do back then. Little did we know that we were quite a bit ahead of our time. We actually launched the first commercial pure-play API ever--again, without realising it.

Because we were so early with our easy to use REST APIs, fintech companies naturally picked us when they started their journey towards revolutionising financial services. This happened around 2008-2012, way before the Fintech Revolution started (circa late 2013 according to Google Trends). We solved a real problem for them. Legacy market data feeds were truly cumbersome and by using our APIs they could preserve their hard-raised capital and focus on innovation. And they did. We made market data simple for them. With a few lines of code they could start feeding data into their new robo-advisor platform or next generation lending solutions. They had no feeds or files to process and no infrastructure to build and maintain at high cost. So while we have not ourselves tried to revolutionise the world of payment, lending, trading or asset management, we have played a key role enabling the leaders in those fields - such as Betterment, Wealthfront, Robinhood, Square and OnDeck - innovate and reshape the world of financial services.

How well are financial companies adapting to the rapid pace of fintech development? What fields are furthest ahead of the game, and what sectors are being left behind?

Financial services organisations started shifting from denial to action in 2015. At first, many were just dismissive of the phenomenon. Then there was a wave of recognition that the threat was real, epitomised by Jamie Dimon's famous "Silicon Valley is coming" in his 2015 letter to JP Morgan's shareholders. Many financial institutions started buying fintech companies--most of which were our clients; BlackRock bought FutureAdvisor, Invesco bought JemStep and there were many others. Others--like JP Morgan--started to organise themselves as fintech companies.

In all fintech segments, you will find firms that are ahead of the game and some firms that are way behind. Just like you will find some locales are more advanced than others. What is most important is how deep the transformation is. This is not about small improvements. This is about changing some major assumptions regarding how firms operate and serve their customers. Advice for example, was something that the industry believed was rooted in personal relationships. Robo-advisors challenged that assumption forever and the financial advice industry will never be the same as a result. We see it in our field as well. We used to find financial services organisations rejecting the public Cloud and dismissive of APIs as "toys". Now many are engaging aggressively in order to build a transition path to using the Cloud for market data. They have realised they can no longer afford to forego the cost savings and innovation power that the market data cloud affords them.

What challenges do you see for fintech development and disruption, both from a user's perspective and from a regulatory standpoint?

While many firms sprouted up in all segments of the industry, the cold hard truth is that few will survive. And this will have little to do with users and with regulation. It has nothing to do with fintech per se and everything to do with how market expansion in new technology segments works. We have seen that over and over for 30 years now. This pattern could change, of course, but that is unlikely. This is how it works. New technologies and business models converge and come into the light. Entrepreneurs iterate and pivot around with this technology and business models until a new category is created and understood by all (e.g. Robo-Advisors). Once the category exists, one company will emerge as the leader and a few as challengers. Those companies stand a chance to standalone (i.e. IPO) as the market expands. Everyone else fails or gets acquired by other players.

It is true that fintech companies have benefited from a very limited regulatory landscape compared to their legacy peers. It is also true that it was excessive regulation imposed after the mortgage crisis that made it possible for the fintech revolution to emerge. The reason is that large banks got so busy with regulation that they forgot to innovate. They forgot they had clients.  So the world ahead of us will be more balanced: more regulation for fintech and less regulation for the banks in a post-Trump era. This again probably means that only the strongest will survive as independent businesses. But the technology and legacy of fintech will forever impact the industry.

What impact do you think Brexit will have on the broader financial technology industry in the UK?
The impact of Brexit is already felt by fintech. A recent report from CB Insights indicated that Germany overtook the UK for fintech funding in Q3. But I think that those shifts are more due to uncertainty than to actual concerns that the UK will lose its power position in the world of finance. We are ourselves looking into opening an EMEA office in 2017 and we are still going to do it in London due to the critical mass of fintech and finserv firms in the UK. The UK is easily our second largest market. Can a finance-savvy but standalone UK hold up against a unified but amateurish Europe? Time will tell.

How is API technology changing the financial services industry?

Financial services used to be a world of silos. For generations banks have grown up as protective ivory towers of redundant technology, legacy processes and complacency. The amount of regulation imposed on them over the years did not make things better. Sure, some industry exchange standards emerged over the years (SWIFT, ACH) but they were just as bloated and complicated as the industry itself. This completely stifled innovation. But banks are just data processing companies. The physical relationship with clients does not matter as much any longer, even with wealthy clients. APIs are a simple protocol that make exchange of information and transactions simple. It challenges the industry to its core. They must embrace it or crumble under the weight of their inner complexities and costs. We have seen it in our domain where banks used to love spending hundreds of millions of dollars on on-premise legacy market data technology that brought them little competitive advantage. Now they are coming to us saying "we are going to use APIs for this project". The reason is simple: the cost advantage and simplicity of Cloud APIs is just too compelling to be ignored.

What’s next for APIs in the financial services industry?

APIs is a very diverse ecosystem. There are many types of APIs and each will have a different impact on the industry. APIs are being used internally by banks to drive efficiencies and interoperability. That trend is here to stay and it will dramatically reduce operational costs for banks in the long term as well as fuel their ability innovate. Many banks are now dabbling with Open APIs which are allowing them to create innovation ecosystem around them--although a lot of that effort remains unfocused. Few banks except for challenger banks are actually providing API products so there is much to be done and discovered in this area. Where we see a lot of potential in the next three years is for banks to start becoming broad consumers of APIs provided by third parties. The Public Cloud will be the main beneficiary of this trend for sure, as billions of dollars in IT spending move from on premise deployment to consumption as an API. Market data--our domain--will also see a massive migration from on premise to API consumption as firms seek to migrate a lot of their legacy market data infrastructure to the cloud. Because of its scale, the public cloud is where all innovation will happen in the next few years. On-premise will fall behind not only in terms of costs, but in terms of availability of cutting edge technology--which will all be available via APIs.

What will you be discussing at The Economist's Finance Disrupted Conference on January 25th 2017 in London?

My focus for the conference will be to talk about the next generation of innovation around financial market data in the Cloud.

To learn more about the Finance Disrupted event, please click here.

RECENT NEWS

Xignite, Inc., a cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions provider for financial services and technology companies, announced a new Vendor of Record service for clients subscribing to real-time and delayed market data. The new service vastly simplifies the administration and reporting required by exchanges and often eliminates the need to pay redistribution fees, potentially saving clients thousands of dollars a month.

As an approved Vendor of Record, also called a Service Facilitator, Xignite can redistribute real-time and delayed equities and options pricing data from Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Options Price Reporting Authority (OPRA), OTC Markets (OTCM), and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). 

Adhering to the complex compliance guidelines required by exchanges is extremely difficult for investment advisers, financial advisers, or order management software providers that need to display real-time or delayed data. Each exchange has its own unique set of regulations and compliance requirements, and clients need to prove that they have control over who receives the data, in what format, and for what use case. Xignite’s Vendor of Record service eliminates the administrative burden of tracking these complex compliance requirements.

The new service utilizes Xignite’s cloud-native Entitlements and Usage Microservices to give firms complete control and transparency of their data consumption and usage. Xignite provides data entitlements, usage tracking, and exchange reporting across various data sets, users, and applications to ensure exchange compliance. Xignite’s new service sometimes eliminates the need to pay expensive redistribution fees. Exchange fees for display data, regardless of the number of users, can cost upwards of $10,000 per month. These high fees are especially difficult for smaller financial firms with just a few real-time data users.  

“Maneuvering through the maze of required compliance policies, entitlements, usage tracking, and reporting requirements, and being subjected to frequent audits is no easy feat,” said Vijay Choudhary, Head of Product for Xignite. “Xignite’s mission is to “Make Market Data Easy.” Today’s announcement is another step towards this. We are taking away the administrative burdens and complexity of licensing market data and allowing our clients the freedom to focus on their investment and trading strategies and building innovative products.”

Xignite’s Vendor of Record service is available for professional users with internal and display-only use cases. The service is available now as an add-on service for subscribers of our real-time and delayed equities and options pricing data APIs. These include:

XigniteGlobalOptions

XigniteGlobalQuotes

XigniteGlobalRealTime

XigniteGlobalRealTimeOptions

XigniteNASDAQLastSale

About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2003 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has continually refined its technology to help Fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

09/21/2021

Xignite, Inc., a provider of cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today introduced XigniteGlobalETFs, a new Cloud API providing advanced analytical and full holdings data for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) globally. The popularity of ETF investing has been going through the roof and, in 2021, has broken all previous records. ETF data is critical to Xignite's digital investment manager (robo-advisor) clients, such as Betterment and SoFi, and our trading and brokerage clients, such as Robinhood and eToro, who offer their users collections made primarily of specially chosen, low-fee ETFs.

One of the prime reasons for the dramatic increase is that ETFs have become virtually free to buy and sell thanks to innovative Fintech solutions powered by Xignite market data. Robo-advisors such as Personal Capital, SoFi, Wealthfront, and WealthSimple have helped make ETFs extremely popular as an easy, low-cost way to diversify their members' portfolios.

Zero-cost trading stock brokers like Robinhood have attracted investors that use ETFs as trading vehicles. As the ETF landscape evolves, it continues to democratize hard-to-access trading strategies for retail investors. This dramatic expansion, and the complexity of the ETF landscape, make it critical for our clients to have institutional quality data to integrate into their ETF-focused financial software and mobile applications. 

The new API offers daily and historical coverage of all listed ETFs in North America, Europe, and the largest Asian markets. Sourced from CFRA Research, one of the world's largest independent investment research firms, users can analyze underlying constituents across ETFs to quantify and compare sector, factor, and other risk exposures. The Xignite's Data Quality team cross-validates the ETF data across sources and proactively detects and fixes any missing information. 

"Inflows to ETFs have already set an annual record in 2021," says Vijay Choudhary, Vice President of Product Management for Xignite. "It is critical for our wealth management, trading, risk analysis, hedge fund, and other Fintech clients to have access to in-depth research on the ETF industry to make informed decisions on behalf of their clients," added Choudhary.

Xignite APIs are cloud-native and offer a robust selection of use case-based endpoints. These endpoints are ready-to-use pieces of code that developers can easily integrate into their product or app, regardless of type, amount, or frequency of data, without the need for any complex integration logic. The available XigniteGlobalETF endpoints are:

GetHoldings - Returns all holdings sorted by percentage portfolio weight for the specified date.

GetETFCharacteristics - Returns characteristics for one or many ETFs for the specified date.

GetVolatilityStatistics - Returns average volume and volatility at the specified date.

GetFundFlows - Returns fund flows for selected ETFs.

GetFundFlowsRange - Returns fund flows for a selected ETF across the specified time range.

GetHistoricalNAVs - Returns the historical NAVs for an ETF based on a start date and end date.

GetNAVs - Returns the closing NAV for one or more ETFs for the specified AsOfDate.

GetTrailingReturns - Returns trailing returns for one or many ETFs for the specified date.

SearchETFs - Returns a list of ETFs that match the search parameters.

 

About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2003 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help Fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

08/03/2021

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today revealed the results of its collaboration with Neeva, the world’s first ad-free, private subscription search engine. Neeva has built features to deliver information in a more user-friendly manner to a general audience. One new feature is a stock tracker, enabling users to look at stock prices based on different time intervals and other key data points. The stock tracker is powered by Xignite financial data. Click HERE to download the case study containing the full results.

Neeva’s stock tracker requires significant quantities of high-quality market data to function. The company initially enlisted a legacy data provider but quickly ran into issues with data and API quality. Neeva needed to integrate quickly and required fast and reliable financial data. After a trial and receiving a recommendation from another client, Neeva identified Xignite as a provider capable of delivering large quantities of market data in a comprehensive and developer-friendly manner. 

“We were impressed by Xignite and committed to them following a successful trial,” said Stephanie Chang, Head of Marketing at Neeva. “The main factors that drew us to Xignite were the consistency of their stock ticker coverage and the granularity of their time-series ticker data, as well as the speed and reliability as well as the speed and reliability of their API,” added Chang.

Integration of the Xignite financial data APIs into Neeva’s stock widget took less than two weeks, and Neeva noticed immediate results in terms of breadth, detail, and API quality. Powered by Xignite’s global quotes and global historical APIs. Neeva presents its users with rich and desirable views of key data points for a huge variety of stocks. Users can use a time-based filtration mechanism to drill into metrics like open price, daily highs, and lows, 52-week highs and lows, volume, and market cap. 

“Xignite’s vision is to Make Market Data Easy. With our industry leading technology combined with Neeva’s user friendly search engine we have done just that,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO and Founder of Xignite. “We look forward to continuing our work with Neeva as they disrupt the search engine marketplace.” 

About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006, when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite

About Neeva

Neeva is the world’s first ad-free, private subscription search engine. Neeva focuses entirely on the consumer, delivering only real, high-quality, trustworthy results. Neeva blocks third-party website trackers and will never sell or share customer data with any third party, especially advertisers. Neeva also makes it easy to search within personal email accounts, calendars, and cloud storage platforms surfacing the most important information from the same familiar search box. Neeva was founded by former executives from Google and YouTube. Learn more and sign up at Neeva.com.

07/15/2021

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, announced today it has enhanced the data coverage for its’ interbanks and interest rates APIs in preparation for the required transition from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark interest rate at the end of 2021.

Used in financial products such as adjustable-rate mortgages, consumer loans, credit cards and derivatives, LIBOR has been the world's most widely used benchmark for short-term rates. But after the 2008 financial crisis the U.S. Federal Reserve recommended a new benchmark interest rate to replace the outdated and problematic LIBOR. In the U.S market the new benchmark is Secured Overnight Funding Rate (SOFR), which is based on transactions in the U.S. Treasury repurchase, or repo, market, where banks and investors borrow or lend Treasuries overnight. Other countries are introducing their own local-currency-denominated alternative reference rates for short-term lending.

Xignite banking, and Fintech customers that build apps for capital markets, investment management, financing, and foreign currency exchange purposes, require interbank and interest rates data to manage exchange and interest rate risk. Xignite enhanced its Interbanks and Rates APIs with SOFR earlier this year and has now added four of the alternative overnight risk-free rates (RFRs) recommended to replace LIBOR for currencies in respective markets. The new rates include Euro Short-Term Rate (ESTR), Swiss Reference Rates (SARON), Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA), and Tokyo Overnight Average Rate (TONAR). These additional rates are available now at no additional cost to customers.

“Our rates and InterBanks APIs were the first REST APIs ever released to serve the needs of the lending and banking industries. They uniquely aggregate rates that are used by dozens of firms globally in critical business processes,” said Vijay Choudhary, Vice President of Product Management for Xignite “Given the major shift the industry is experiencing regarding reference rates, it was critical for us to support those new rates to give our clients the data they need to run their businesses,” added Choudhary.

Xignite’s Interbanks API offers real-time and historical interbank and deposit rates for currencies in 40 countries. Xignite’s Interest Rates API provides interest rate data for over 600 global treasury, money market and private capital market instruments and benchmarks. The new alternative T+1 (24hr+ delayed) rates include:

  •         Europe: Euro Short-Term Rate (ESTR) is an interest rate benchmark that reflects the overnight borrowing costs of banks within the eurozone. The rate is calculated and published by the European Central Bank.
  •         Switzerland: Swiss Reference Rates (SARON) represents the overnight interest rate of the secured money market for Swiss francs (CHF). The rate is calculated and published by SIX.
  •         United Kingdom: Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) is the effective overnight interest rate paid by banks for unsecured transactions in the British sterling.
  •         Japan: Tokyo Overnight Average Rate (TONAR) is an unsecured interbank overnight interest rate and reference rate for the Japanese yen. The rate is calculated and published by the Bank of Japan.

About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006, when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

06/09/2021