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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

By Max Bowie - Waters Technology

NICE Actimize has fortified the datasets available for use in its Surveil-X trade surveillance tool, using exchange prices and other data from Swiss vendor SIX, delivered via Xignite’s new suite of microservices for content distribution and data management.

The vendor is preparing to go live with the joint solution “any day now,” after completing some final data validation, says Sam Sundera, head of future business at SIX, who is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is responsible for dealing with partners, new technology data and initiatives, and with banks’ innovation labs.

A subscription to Waters Technology is required to read this article.

07/23/2020

The Two Companies Deliver Industry’s Largest Global Coverage Sourced from 1,800+ Trading Venues Via Hyper-Scalable Cloud APIs

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, and SIX, today announced a strategic partnership. Xignite and SIX are now offering real-time data from the catalog of SIX which includes 1,800+ global exchanges and trading venues via Xignite Enterprise Microservices, a suite of cloud-native market data management services built to transform how firms store, distribute, manage, and control market data in the cloud. The partnership accelerates the transition of large financial institutions and fintechs to the cloud. This is the first time such a comprehensive set of market data has been offered to the market via a native cloud solution.

Xignite’s battle-tested cloud-native solution currently serves more than 12 billion API calls per day to 750 clients around the world--making it the largest cloud API platform in capital markets. Xignite recently introduced Xignite Enterprise Microservices, a suite of vendor-agnostic services large firms can deploy to migrate their market data infrastructure and any of their existing data sources to the cloud.

“Large financial institutions have been looking for cloud-native market data solutions capable of handling their broad coverage requirements and offering a state-of-the-art customer experience.” says Stephane Dubois, CEO and founder of Xignite. “The pandemic has worsened the situation as firms want to get away from maintaining complex and expensive on-premise infrastructures that are overkill for most of their needs,” added Dubois. “We had the enterprise technology but not the coverage, so partnering with SIX made sense. We are thrilled to partner with SIX and be first to market with a true global enterprise solution.” 

SIX is one of the few market data vendors offering full coverage of the global capital markets. The Market Data Feed (MDF) from SIX delivers a steady stream of global market information that is consolidated, standardized and in real time. With MDF clients get access to over 30 million instruments across all asset classes and from more than 1,800 exchanges, OTC markets, and other trading venues. The combined solution integrates the MDF feed from SIX delivered from hosted collocation facilities to Xignite Enterprise Microservices deployed in the client’s own cloud account. The Xignite Real-Time Microservice is used to distribute real-time data internally or externally from the cloud via scalable APIs while the Xignite Entitlements and Usage Microservice provides control and transparency of data consumption and usage.

“Partnering with Xignite is a great leap for SIX in making its market data easily available to all buy-side and sell-side professionals. While making the richness, depth and wide coverage of our Market Data Feed available via Xignite’s cloud-based solution, we offer clients streamlined access to the highest quality data without a complicated acquisition process, burdensome integration or costly development,” commented John McManus, Head Sales, Financial Information, SIX.

About Xignite

Xignite Makes Market Data Easy. Xignite is leading the disruption of the market data industry with its AWS-based financial data distribution and market data management solutions. Xignite’s Market Data Cloud platform provides market data managers full transparency on the usage of a firm's first-level real-time and reference data - making it easy for data owners to entitle, control consumption, comply with licensing requirements, allocate costs, and resolve vendor audits or invoice discrepancies. Xignite also powers financial data-driven robo-advisors, online brokerages, and investing apps with its real-time, delayed, and historical pricing data offered via 500+ REST Cloud APIs. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

About SIX

SIX operates and develops infrastructure services in the Securities & Exchanges, Banking Services and Financial Information business units with the aim of raising efficiency, quality, and innovative capacity across the entire value chain of the Swiss financial center. The company is owned by its users (122 banks). With a workforce of some 2,600 employees and a presence in 20 countries, it generated operating income of CHF 1.13 billion and Group net profit of CHF 120.5 million in 2019.
 www.six-group.com

07/23/2020

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, announced today it has created a new program to assist early stage and start-up financial technology companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for this program visit https://www.xignite.com/fintech-development-program/

The costs associated with developing and launching fintech products and apps can be daunting, even in the best of times. A particularly challenging aspect can be the procurement of quality financial and market data. Hidden fees, restrictions on the use of data, poorly written APIs and exchange requirements are just some of the factors, in addition to costs, that can make it difficult for new or small fintechs to survive.

To assist early stage fintech companies, Xignite is inviting these disruptors to leverage the same technology and data APIs that have helped move the industry forward over the last decade. Through this program, companies can continue to develop their ideas and products without a significant capital commitment. Participants will be able to take advantage of development access for 60 days on Xignite’s most popular financial data APIs and enjoy significant discounts on fees for the first year. Also included in the program is access to real-time, 15-minute delayed and end-of-day stock prices, company data, currency exchange rates, indices, corporate actions and master data.

“Not only are we offering a compelling financial incentive, but companies will have access to the experts on our Product and Engineering team who not only first brought financial market data to the cloud, but also helped support and power some of the biggest disruptors in the industry such as SoFi, Robinhood and Betterment,” said Ryan Burdick, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sales at Xignite. “By introducing this program, Xignite is able to support the next wave of entrepreneurs by helping to keep their visions moving forward as seamlessly as possible during this unprecedented time.”

About Xignite

Xignite Makes Market Data Easy. Xignite is leading the disruption of the market data industry with its AWS-based financial data distribution and market data management solutions. Xignite’s Market Data Cloud Platform provides market data managers full transparency on the usage of a firm's first-level real-time and reference data - making it easy for data owners to entitle, control consumption, comply with licensing requirements, allocate costs, and resolve vendor audits or invoice discrepancies. Xignite also powers financial data-driven robo-advisors, online brokerages, and investing apps with its real-time, delayed and historical pricing data offered via 500+ REST Cloud APIs. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

07/14/2020

NICE Actimize Gains Agility and Scalability Bringing its Real-time Market Data Infrastructure to the Cloud

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today announced the launch of Xignite Enterprise Microservices, a powerful suite of cloud-native market data management services built to transform how firms store, distribute, manage and control market and financial data in the cloud. NICE Actimize, the leading global provider of financial crime, risk and compliance solutions is the first user of the new Real-time Microservice solution.

Microservices are an architectural approach in which core functionality is handled by loosely coupled, independently deployable components that can work together or separately. Because you can deploy microservices as separate functional units, you can pick and choose the functionality you want and scale them massively at the lowest possible cost. Microservices stand in stark contrast with monolithic platforms that require many dedicated on-premise servers which are expensive to manage, often under-utilized, can’t scale on-demand and require frequent updates and upgrades for even minor changes. Most enterprise platforms also require firms to pay for capabilities that are not needed.

The Xignite Enterprise Microservices run on Xignite’s battle-tested cloud-based architecture that currently supports more than 250 different data sources and 12 billion API calls per day for over 750 fintech and financial services clients. Financial institutions can now leverage the same cloud technology Xignite has been refining and scaling for more than 10 years to move their own financial and market data to the cloud. Xignite’s microservices are built from the ground up for the cloud, in contrast with legacy data providers that are attempting to “lift and shift” their monolithic platforms for that purpose.       

Xignite Enterprise Microservices are vendor-agnostic and can bring transformative results to any data set a firm may license or collect from vendors such Bloomberg, FactSet, ICE Data Services, SIX Financial, Vela Trading, QuantHouse and many others, as well as in-house proprietary data.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Xignite Enterprise Microservices, which we believe will truly revolutionize market data management,” said Stephane Dubois, Founder and CEO of Xignite. “The culmination of over 10 years of nonstop innovation, we have taken the cloud-native architecture that has powered some of world’s most prominent fintechs and scaled it to meet the unique requirements of institutional players that consume huge amounts of data but often have no way of integrating and optimizing it in an efficient and cost-effective way. Firms are no longer required to hitch their wagon to a single provider – instead, they can use a combination of our microservices to secure all the benefits they would get from a rigid legacy offering. We are the only vendor offering a suite of market data management microservices that clients can mix and match to create a comprehensive, infinitely scalable cloud-based solution that meets their exact needs. We firmly believe that offerings like these are the future of market data, and we are thrilled to once again take a leading role in the financial services industry’s continued digital transformation.”

The suite includes seven cloud-native microservices targeted to buy-side, sell-side and fintech firms, as well as exchanges:

  • Xignite Data Lake Microservice is a cloud-native data management and distribution solution that centralizes existing data and enables financial services firms to provide easy access to the data via highly scalable cloud APIs, reducing costs and improving efficiency by eliminating legacy infrastructure.
  • Xignite Optimization Microservice is a cloud-native pricing and reference data cost optimization solution that enables the control of large reference data sets, such as Bloomberg Data License, via intelligent caching, sophisticated entitlements and advanced analytics and reporting.
  • Xignite Entitlements and Usage Microservice is a cloud-native market data access control and reporting solution that enables financial services firms to have complete control and transparency of data consumption and usage, and provides reports of data usage across various data sets, users and applications to ensure vendor compliance.
  • Xignite Reference Microservice is a cloud-native solution that aggregates, normalizes, stores and indexes reference data from multiple vendors across all asset classes into a centralized repository and access layer, enabling centralized access across the entire enterprise and improving data consistency, completeness and timeliness.
  • Xignite Historical Microservice is a cloud-native time-series data management solution that enables financial services firms to capture historical data from different sources and integrate with security master and corporate actions data to provide a fully normalized, stitched and adjusted historical data view via highly scalable cloud APIs.
  • Xignite Real-Time Microservice is a cloud-native real-time data distribution solution that enables financial services firms to distribute real-time data internally and externally via highly scalable and flexible cloud APIs, eliminating on-premise infrastructure.
  • Xignite Fundamentals Microservice is a cloud-native data management solution that enables financial services firms to capture simple or complex time-series data structures associated with an entity such as a regional level security or issuer, and make them available via specialized and highly scalable cloud APIs.

These microservices are already transforming how the industry manages data. NICE Actimize, a leading provider of financial crime management solutions, has replaced its legacy solution with the Xignite Real-Time Microservice to onboard and manage multi-asset class, level 1 and 2 co-located feeds from multiple sources.

The launch of Xignite Enterprise Microservices is the latest highlight in what has been a hugely successful year for the firm. Last month, Xignite received a patent for its alerts technology and the company was named a SIIA CODiE Awards finalist and added to the WealthTech 100 list.

About Xignite
Xignite Makes Market Data Easy. Xignite is leading the disruption of the market data industry with its AWS-based financial data distribution and market data management solutions. Xignite’s Market Data Cloud platform provides market data managers full transparency on the usage of a firm's first-level real-time and reference data - making it easy for data owners to entitle, control consumption, comply with licensing requirements, allocate costs, and resolve vendor audits or invoice discrepancies. Xignite also powers financial data-driven robo-advisors, online brokerages, and investing apps with its real-time, delayed and historical pricing data offered via 500+ REST Cloud APIs. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite.

07/08/2020