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The FinTech Capital - 4th Edition

Xignite

LONDON’S FINTECH LEADERS TALK INVESTORS, START-UPS, COMMUNITIES & NEW FINTECH, TRADING TECHNOLOGY, ETRM/CTRM, BIG DATA AND OUTSOURCING VS. INSOURCING

The scene occurs at a San Francisco hipster bar in late 2014. She asks “And what do you do during the day?” He calmly says, while tucking his plaid shirt in and rubbing his fully-grown beard, “I work in a fintech startup.” “Me too,” she replies giggling. “Are you in payments or digital wealth management?”

The story draws a smile. Two years ago, few millennials in San Francisco knew what fintech (e.g. financial technology) was, but now they all see it as their ticket to fame and fortune-via-IPO. Move over social networks and micro-blogging; the next innovation frontier lies at the crossroad of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.*

Just in the month of October 2014, fintech companies in the US have raised more than $1B, including the $75M IPO of valley-veteran Yodlee, the $64M raised by digital wealth management fintech poster-child Wealthfront, and the $150M raised by payment darling Square. The capital flows and the hefty valuations don’t lie: fintech is on fire, and that fire is not only burning in the US; fintech ecosystems are flaring up in Singapore, London, Frankfurt and Paris, and many other technology centers in the world.

It was not always like this. If you tried to raise money in fintech during the years that followed the fall of Lehman Brothers, most venture capital and private equity firms would have gently pushed you out to the curb with a polite “We are not investing in fintech right now,” but today money is gushing out of their funds faster than their fledgling startups can spend it, and they are briskly updating their websites to make you believe they were in fintech all along.

So what has changed since the doom-days of finance?

The first change is economical: The markets are back in the saddle. As proof, the Dow Industrial has broken its all-time record high 79 times in 2013 and 2014 alone, and it closed on October 13, 2014 at its highest value in history. As a rising tide lifts all boats, the bubbling markets have boosted financial services and yanked financial technology in their trail. One thing that stands out in the growth of the markets is the meteoric growth of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)—which has exceeded every other asset class since their inception 20 years ago. Assets in ETFs now exceed 3 trillion dollars. Their inherent ease of use (as they combine the passive investment convenience of mutual funds with a level of trading ease that was previously only found in equities) could certainly explain some of the rebirth in the markets. In any case, finance is hot again. God bless America.

The second change is technological: It’s been almost 20 years since the Internet revolution began on August 9, 1995 (the day of the Netscape IPO), and technology has matured tremendously in many areas. Those concurrent evolutions have combined to create a cradle of innovation which is fueling the Fintech Fire:

  • The scaling of the public cloud (e.g., Amazon Web Services) which not only lets startups rev up on a dime, but also confers them a significant long-term cost structure advantage.
  • The maturing of app development via open source, re-usability and tools has reduced costs and timelines to hours or days. Imagine holding up a weekend-long hackathon in 1992; it just would not have worked.
  • The coming of age of social networking and search engine optimization (SEO) that have automated go-to-market strategies and slashed customer acquisition costs. With social contacts, adoption can go viral. Virality was not conceivable 10 years ago. It is not even a valid word in my spell-checker.
  • The dawn of APIs (whether used for trading via FIX or for market data consumption, as with my company Xignite) enables true end-to-end automation of processes that used to be complex and human-intensive. Fifteen years ago—without easy trading, market data and account funding APIs—digital wealth management companies like WealthfrontPersonal Capital or Betterment could not have existed.

The convergence of those trends is allowing startups everywhere to reinvent every vertical segment of financial technology with a new angle and with solutions that are easier, faster and better. This is hitting traditional financial service institutions like a high speed train. Most of them have had their heads buried in the sand focused on regulation and cost savings since the days of that infamous Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Wall Street is now petrified that Silicon Valley is about to eat its lunch, and it is scrambling to catch up. But once you see that most large banks still twitch when one whispers the word cloud, you realize that the technology and cost advantage of the fintech revolutionaries is significant indeed. God bless APIs.

The third change is social. It has to do with a generational replacement of a population that has grown up with the Internet, surrounded by mobile devices, and used to instant gratification and levels of ease-of-use never experienced by humanity before. That generation could not care less about traditional investment and advice models. They would not think twice about banking with Google, Starbucks or Facebook if it were available. They are not worried about security on the Internet, and the last thing they want is to have to talk with someone to get anything done. They are ready to use Siri to place a trade and expect an investment account to open and be funded instantly.

According to a survey conducted by eTrade, the majority (72%) of millennials want a financial advisor like R2-D2— “a copilot with diverse skills who helps you when you need it and offers a variety of tools you can use yourself.” Only 28% of them are looking for a friend like C-3PO (i.e., “a constant companion focused on your money who will always tell you what to do”).  If you are betting that millennials will reverse their habits to that of their parents once they hit the age of 40, you may lose.

One may look at the mortgage crisis and think that because of it, financial services will never be the same. But the impact of the financial mortgage crisis is negligible compared to what millennials will have on the industry as they grow up. God bless our children.

So the fintech fire is being fueled by three deep-seated technological, social and economic transformations that are catalyzing to create an innovation bonanza that is turning the industry upside down. Of the three, only the first one is cyclical, and even if a bear market could put a cold shower on the whole phenomenon, the lasting characteristics of the two other trends allow us to safely predict that financial services and financial technology will never be the same.

* Technically a bit north of that, since Wall Street is now lined-up with condos and neglected for hip neighborhoods uptown by New York startups, and since Silicon Valley has been displaced by San Francisco as the startup capital of the world.

Stephane Dubois is CEO and founder of Xignite and a sought-after observer and contributor to the fintech community.

Source: The Harrington Star

RECENT NEWS

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

Xignite, Inc., a provider of cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today introduced XigniteGlobalCorporateActions, a new advanced API providing detailed corporate actions data for events such as stock splits, dividends, mergers, and spinoffs. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in corporate actions, annual meetings canceled, dividend payouts suspensions, and an accelerated company mergers and acquisitions rate. Knowing when a company plans to offer a split or undertake an acquisition is critical for buy-side and sell-side firms.

Corporate action processing is one of the “last frontiers of pain” for investment management, and one of the most manual and complex parts of back-office operations. The lack of uniformity and standards makes it difficult to identify and interpret information correctly. Obtaining accurate and timely information is challenging, and errors can result in painful financial losses. The XigniteGlobalCorporateActions is the first cloud-based REST API to eliminate the pains and complexity caused by legacy data feed and files. The API provides a single-source data stream with consistent information gathered from more than 190 exchanges and over 30,000 U.S. mutual funds.

The recent split of TSLA and AAPL stock on the same day illustrates the complex and far-reaching impact of corporate actions. If a firm does not do this correctly, it will show on historical charts, and their customers will notice. Xignite’s Data Quality team cross-validates our corporate actions data across sources and proactively detects and fixes any missing information. This prevents missing issues such as the TSLA and AAPL splits.

“The industry is facing a ‘perfect storm’”, says Vijay Choudhary, Vice President of Product Management for Xignite. “On one hand you have a massive wave of corporate actions fueled by the pandemic and the rising markets, and on the other you have millions of new retail investors eyeballing their investment applications all day long. One bad corporate action can send your customer service department into a tailspin,” added Choudhary. Additional detail on the Corporate Actions API endpoints:

GetDistributions - Returns cash and stock dividends as declared by the company for a requested security and date range.

GetDistributionsByExchange - Returns cash and stock dividends as declared by the company for a requested exchange and date.

GetEventSummaries - Provides a high-level overview of events for a requested security and date range.

GetMergers - Returns merger events for a given identifier and date range.

GetSpinoffs - Returns spinoff events for a given identifier and date range.

GetSplits - Returns the stock split history for a security for a specified date range.

GetTakeovers - Returns takeover events for a given identifier and date range.

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 specialized microservices-delivered modules to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite

05/18/2021