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Too Nice To Fail: Can Moral Finance Save Your Bank?

Xignite

Forbes Fintech For 25 years in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, a sprawling, week-long conference you’ve never heard of shaped your financial life. It was called the Securities Industry Association Technology Conference, (later renamed SIFMA Tech) and it was where the largest technology firms came to pitch the biggest banks on everything from how your 401k got traded to how your bank let you access your money online. Of course, ‘you’ were merely a notional statistic at this four-day financial love-fest. The real name of the game was to help the banks get more profitable and give institutional traders an edge over their – equally institutional – competition.

 

But then 2008 happened and the financial world went to hell in a hand basket, taking the majority of SIFMA Tech with it. Not only did the banks suffer but public trust in banks plummeted to somewhere just slightly north of used car dealers.

Bank Trust Fintech

Financial services didn’t just take a beating during the financial crisis, the fundamental nature of finance needed a makeover. EnterFinovate. Finovate is like TechCrunch Disrupt for Finance, showcasing the best new innovations in financial and banking technology via short, fast-paced demos (no slides allowed) and high-quality networking.

 

Its location? The ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

 

Finovate Fintech

 

The Finovate conference, like the SIFMA show before it, still brings together financial bigwigs and technologists but ‘you’ – meaning the consumer: your hopes, dreams and desires – are now most definitely the center of the action. Walking through the halls of Finovate has a somewhat Twilight Zone quality about it. It’s like a version of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ in which the financial industry wakes up after a terrible nightmare and resolves to change its miserly ways before it’s too late.

 

As Stephane Dubois, CEO of financial data company and regular exhibitor, Xignite points out: “There is an incredible irony to seeing Finovate held at the Hilton, the traditional home of the SIFMA Tech show. The energy and innovation demonstrated by these new companies at Finovate easily offsets the luster lost over the years by SIFMA and its traditional contingent of legacy financial providers. It’s like watching a phoenix being born out the ashes of old finance.”

 

So just who are these financial philanthropists?

 

Well there’s SaveUp, an app on a mission to help consumers rebuild their finances after five years of recession. Describing themselves as ‘the gummy vitamin of personal finance’, SaveUp blends traditional balance updates with gamification, encouraging consumers to pay down debt with the opportunity to win prizes and merchant-funded rewards.

 

In the same vein, an app called ImpulseSave from True Potential enables users to make “impulse deposits,” in small increments on their cellphones, smart watch and even Google Glass. The ideas is to make saving habitual and even fun.

 

“Traditional banks could never have approached saving this way” says Jeff Burrow, COO and Co-founder of FlexScore, another Finovate exhibitor and presenter. “The reality is that old-school financial institutions make their money on debt. They are not really incentivized to help consumers become debt free.”

Then there’s EverSafe, a financial monitoring platform designed specifically to protect seniors from fraud. “Isn’t this what the banks and credit bureaus are supposed to be doing?’ I ask. “You would think so” says Howard L. Tischler, EverSafe’s founder and CEO, with a wry smile “but we’re definitely filling a gap in the market!”

 

SIFMA Tech didn’t exactly get replaced with a bunch of financialMother Theresas but this brand of financial capitalism certainly comes in a different flavor. Even the less overtly benevolent exhibitors promote a democratization of finance that was scarce before 2008; giving consumers access to instruments and models previously the preserve of the institutional market alone.

 

HedgeCoVest, one of the most popular exhibitors at the show, is a platform which enables investors to make allocations to hedge fund strategies in their own brokerage accounts, thus giving mom and pop a taste of alternative assets and the higher returns they typically deliver.

 

Evan Rapaport, CEO of HedgeCoVest notes: “The individual investor has been locked out of this part of the market for too long. We believe that the most attractive investment opportunities should be available to everyone and not just institutions and the ultra-wealthy”

 

Patch of Land, does the same thing in property, using a peer-to-peer model and enabling the mass affluent in becoming savvy real estate investors with investments as low as $5000.

 

“The established principles of finance were overdue for a rethink” says Jeff Burrow of Flexscore. “For example, we created Flexscore because we believed that credit worthiness – the traditional gauge of a person’s financial wellbeing – was a useful but ultimately limited measure of overall fiscal responsibility. Students come out of college and the first thing they’re told to do is get a credit or store card and start establishing a credit history. If you think about it, that’s crazy: we’re telling kids who are probably already overloaded with college debt to go and start borrowing more money.” Flexscore, Financial Life Experience Score, by comparison, takes a more holistic view of the individual, gives them total financial clarity and helps them improve their financial standing.

 

This concept of clarity and accessibility permeates the halls of Finovate. Firms such as blooom (sic), for example, are attempting to make the complex world of 401ks more comprehensible for non-financial customers via neat, consumer-friendly visualizations.

 

Even in the most arcane areas of the institutional market, such as fixed income, new players like Algomi (which I heard referred to at the show as “Facebook for Bonds“) are borrowing tools pioneered in social media to bring an openness to the financial markets.

 

At the end of the first day I spoke to Mike Laven, CEO of Currency Cloud, another new financial provider and regular Finovate attendee. Unlike many of the presenters at the show, however, Mike is an industry veteran – having held multiple C-suite positions at financial technology firms since the early 90s. I asked him why, after all that time at the top of large, well-established providers he chose to launch a scrappy start-up. ‘Taking another CEO role at a major firm would certainly have been the easier choice” he concedes, “but there’s a financial technology revolution happening today and I want to be on the right side of history.”

 

Source: Forbes

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