Interoperability trending in 2024

Provided by Michael Barbera, Chief Product Officer – Trading, Iress

The race to improve the communication and exchange of data between applications – or interoperability – is at last beginning to bear fruit.

Given that an average user juggles about 10 fintech applications on their desktop, engaging in more than 1500 interactions a day including more than 200 copy-and-paste actions, there’s a lot of room for error and downtime if data exchange isn’t seamless.

A project, begun nearly seven years by a group of banks, asset managers and vendors in the capital markets to drive interoperability across financial services, has seen a growing commitment from buy-side firms and increasing engagement from the sell-side in the past two years. Described as similar to the FIX (Financial Information Exchange) protocol, FDC3 (Financial Desktop Connectivity and Collaboration Consortium) is an open standard for interoperability between desktop applications.

FDC3 is now part of the Fintech Open Source Foundation’s (FINOS) open-source governance framework, which is attracting the support of the world’s biggest financial and technology institutions. Its goal is to promote innovation and interoperability in financial technology through industry-wide collaboration on open-source software and open standards.

FINOS executive director Gabriele Columbro says the flood of organisations ready to collaborate marks a new chapter for the organisation.

“Over the last 20 years, open source has been used over and over again to create new ecosystems, markets and displace obsolete technology monopolies. The financial services industry is truly ripe for this, so I am genuinely excited about what the next months and years will bring. It’s time to think big and our community is ready for it,” he says.

Iress has definitively joined the party. Interoperability is the beating heart of an Iress rebuild underway in 2024. In a root and branch approach, we’re building the back end first using technology that is designed for the next generation front end. Moving to a SaaS (software as a service) cloud-hosted model will allow us to pivot and deploy patches and new solutions at a moment’s notice and save clients months in installation time.

It’s a significant investment in an innovative project that delivers best-of-breed connectivity solutions for a seamless user experience and turbo-charged data and analytics capabilities.

Our rebuild includes a frictionless onboarding journey similar to our FIX hub where onboarding, which once took up to eight weeks, is now down to less than one day.

The Iress global FIX Hub is a cloud-native, enterprise hub-and-spoke network that connects buy-side, sell-side and trading venues across global markets. It enables trading firms to expand investment opportunities across all major asset classes and multiple message interfaces. A production configuration can be deployed in under 90 seconds.

Launched late in 2023, Iress Fix Hub has now been deployed into Australia, London and Singapore. The FIX Hub allows Iress clients to quickly connect to any counterparty on the FIX network, improving liquidity, price discovery and transaction times providing a robust global connectivity.

While cloud computing is a mature technology, it’s a relative newcomer to some areas of trading. Forbes calculates that overall spending on cloud computing infrastructure is forecast to top $1 trillion for the first time in 2024, driven by factors such as a growing need to adopt new platforms and as-a-service offerings. Today, it’s about more than the time-and-money-saving opportunities, according to Forbes. Cloud migration is often the key to becoming more innovative, agile and successful.

For Iress, building the cloud application has allowed us to deploy into any region, putting us on the same footing as our global competitors. It gives us the capability to ‘follow the sun’ – a key attribute for any global business.

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