03.21.2017
By Rob Daly

IBM Puts Fintech Spin on Bluemix

IBM has set up a dedicated fintech sandbox within the vendor’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service offering, which launched on Monday.

“The idea is to give developers where they can experiment and build new applications,” Mike Curry, vice president, Watson Financial Services at IBM, told Markets Media. “If they find things that they think are interesting, they can push-button deploy them into a global cloud network.”

Dubbed Cloud for Financial Services, the offering consists of a library of pre-existing APIs from IBM and third-party partners that touch on big data analytics, cognitive computing, Hyperledger, integration, mobile development, and risk analytics services.

Curry expected the new offering to launch with five or six live APIs.

Mike Curry, IBM

“The APIs around risk and portfolio analysis will be in beta for some time until we get enough user then they’ll go live downstream,” he said. “We will publish new services on a monthly, and even maybe a weekly, basis.”

Hedge fund, wealth management, and other buy-side developers can use the APIs to code applications that can stress test their portfolios based on information and events culled from various data feeds.

“I could run a 9/11 scenario and see what happened against my portfolio and what would happen if I re-ran that scenario and things like that,” said Curry.

IBM also has included some coding kits that act as armatures for relatively common applications within financial services, such as news analytics.

A developer could use the natural language analysis and sentiment analysis capabilities of IBM’s Watson Services to find references to the companies that underlie the securities in a portfolio or other related factors and their impact on the portfolio, according to Curry.

“It’s not intended to be something that wealth managers would buy and use as is,” he said. “It is an example of what types of applications that we see the buy side trying to build things that allow them to process more data than a single wealth advisor could possible process.”

The offering’s initial support will favor pre-trade processes over trading and post-trade processes. “We are looking at the piece of the equation that likely will be needed by these types of developers,” said Curry. “Most of the ones we have coming out of the gate focus on payments, wealth management, and areas like that.”

He sees IBM eventually expanding it supports into segments like insurance, mortgages, and loans, as well as other financial services segments.

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