News

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

In the foreign metal market and the world of international rates, currencies play the crucial role of acting as the medium of exchange in the transactions that take place.

Currencies like the United States dollar, the Euro, or the British Pound are commonly used around the world in order to get a metal rate. Some companies that offer precious metal live and historical rates have exposed their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow developers to integrate current and historical metal rates, currency conversion, or other capabilities into their applications.

In order to know about precious metals live and historical rates, there’s a lot of APIs available online, and if you want to try one, Barchart is going to be one of your first options. But if you take a look at what else is in the market, you’ll find alternatives so many great alternatives:

Xignite Market Data Cloud Platform

Xignite Market Data as a Service was one of the first market data services built to run in AWS and they are one of the few vendors that is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with a Financial Services Competency.

With more than a decade of cloud expertise in building, scaling and operating cloud-based market data technology, it is no surprise that leading financial services and capital markets firms rely on this company to empower their journey to the cloud. Their Metals API Service offers real-time prices and quotes for metals including Gold, Silver, Palladium, Platinum and other base metals. In addition to real-time precious metals prices, the service provides daily London Fixing prices as well as historical precious metal prices and metal news. 

Xignite Cloud APIs are sourced from leading providers such as FactSet and Morningstar as well as Xignite’s own curated, high-quality data.

Read the article Top 3 Alternatives for Barchart Precious Metals Rates

02/25/2021

Each year, Bobsguide asks the market to vote for fintech companies they believe stand out from the competition – those who have gone the extra mile in terms of development and servicing their clients. Xignite is proud to be listed as the "Best API Management" vendor on the Bobsguide 2020 Rankings.


Read article on Bobsguide

01/26/2021

Web services data provider Xignite captured the AFTAs judges’ attention on the infrastructure front with its release of Xignite Enterprise Microservices in July 2020, a suite of cloud-based microservices for data management, storage and distribution in the cloud, designed to help financial firms migrate from monolithic legacy data architectures to more agile and less expensive cloud services and data sources.

Requires subscription to read the article on WatersTechnology

01/25/2021

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 StockCharts, a leading technical analysis and financial charting platform for online retail investors. The collaboration involved a move from an on-premise market data provider to Xignite’s cloud-native technology hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Download the case study containing the full results.

StockCharts requires vast quantities of financial data to power its visualization, charting and tracking tools, which investors use to analyze the markets to help with investment decisions. The company was frustrated by the limits of its on-premise market data center, which was forcing the team to make architectural decisions based on what its data center could handle in terms of speed and storage, not on their technology. Its previous market data provider was just starting to build out some cloud offerings, but they were far away from what the business required. StockCharts decided to migrate its infrastructure to the AWS cloud and partner with Xignite to gain access to endlessly scalable market and financial data delivered through innovative cloud APIs.

The collaboration made an immediate impact as StockCharts was able to expand its offerings and customer base by pursuing growth strategies enabled by Xignite’s cloud-based approach, which provides easy access to data and eliminates architectural limits on storage and speed.

The pandemic provided further validation. Seattle-based StockCharts was in one of the first areas hit by COVID-19 and was forced to quickly shut down its office. Pandemic-driven market volatility followed and StockCharts customers wanted to visualize what was happening. The company’s ability to scale quickly and accommodate a high volume of new requests would not have been possible without Xignite.

“The move to the AWS cloud and Xignite has unlocked tremendous new potential for us in a lot of architectural ways, and has given us a lot of data options that we could not even consider before,” said Grayson Roze, Vice President of Operations at StockCharts. “It relieved us of the burden of figuring out how to source things. Instead, we know exactly where we need to go to get the data and can access it instantly. That is a huge, huge benefit for our business.”

“We are proud to have played a role in transforming how StockCharts approaches data,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO and Founder of Xignite. “The events of this year unleashed a massive spike in retail trading and a host of other unexpected forces that reinforced the need for financial services firms to leverage the cloud. Despite the disruption of this year, StockCharts was positioned for success, and we look forward to continuing to deliver our financial and market data solutions to the industry at large.”

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

01/12/2021