FINTECH

Amazon Web Services Makes Finspace Available For All

AWS | May 05, 2021

Amazon Web Services, Inc. a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. today unveiled Amazon FinSpace, a purpose-built analytics tool that cuts the time it takes FSI companies to locate, plan, and evaluate financial data from months to minutes. Amazon FinSpace collects, indexes and tags data from around an organization's data silos, making it searchable by the entire organisation. This service also includes Apache Spark analytics engine, which contains over 100 data transformations commonly used in the capital market industries to curate data for analysis at petabyte scales. Amazon FinSpace ensures that data access controls are applied and use is monitored at all times, making it easier for FSI organisations to fulfil their enforcement requirements.

The analysts of hedge funds, asset management firms, insurance companies, investment banks, and other FSI organizations can get more benefits with Amazon FinSpace, that gives access to the information they need as well as it empowers them to create thorough analytics on demand to all of its collected data.
Customers only pay for the data stored, the users allowed, and the software used to prepare and analyse data. There are no upfront costs or obligations to use Amazon FinSpace.

Every day, FSI organisations generate and compile petabytes of data from internal sources such as portfolio management, managements systems, order management systems, and execution management systems, as well as third-party data feeds such as high-volume historical equities pricing data, job statistics, and earnings results. These companies want to use the massive amounts of data they have at their disposal to gain insights that will help them find potential revenue streams, attract and retain customers, and minimise costs or risk. However, before data can be processed, FSI firms usually spend months locating the appropriate data to prepare it for review.

Since FSI organisations store data in warehouses dispersed throughout the departments that specialise in particular assets or geographical areas and produce specialised data, finding and analysing data takes time (e.g. options, bonds,  equities, Europe's mutual funds, Asian currency exchange, etc.). Furthermore, data access is tightly regulated and policy-controlled, which means analysts must explain to enforcement officers how their access will adhere to data usage policies before they can access the data. If they have access to the data, analysts must prepare it for analysis by conducting data transformations recursively in order to uncover new insights within the data. Stock market traders, for instance, often use technical measures such as Bollinger Bands, Exponential Moving Averages, and Average True Range to detect previously unknown trends and patterns. The data analytics tools available for analysts today designed to operate on a single computer and were not intended to take advantage of the cloud's size and capacity to perform heavy analysis on demand.
As a result, these analysts must either use small representative datasets that restrict predictive ability, or the data must be manually broken up into several subsets, transformed piecemeal, and manually recombined.
Neither method is optimal or efficient.


Amazon FinSpace addresses the challenges that FSI organisations face by dramatically simplifying the steps required to identify, plan, and analyse data, reducing the time required from months to minutes. Customers start by ingesting data into Amazon FinSpace through the service's Application Programming Interface (API) or a drag-and-drop interface in the web application from internal information storage facilities or third-party data feeds. Customers can find data by browsing a visual catalogue and searching for familiar market keywords such as “options trades over the last three years or U.S. automotive bonds” from inside the web application.
Amazon FinSpace provides built-in classification schemas for popular FSI data sources (e.g., trades, corporate activities, and economic data) that customers can configure to their specific needs, allowing the data to be structured in an easy-to-find and easy-to-share format. It also tracks and processes regular changes and corrections for datasets in order to generate point-in-time views to test modelling assumptions and display what data was used to guide past decisions for historical review.

While Announcing FinSpace, Saman Michael Far, Vice President of Financial Services Technology, Amazon Web Services comments “Significant quantities of data are generated and purchased by FSI organisations, but using this data is difficult due to the time and effort required to obtain and prepare data for analysis.” He also adds, “For FSI organisations, Amazon FinSpace is a game changer as it drastically decreases the time it takes FSI customers to perform analytics across petabytes of data, making it much easier for them to find new revenue streams, attract customers, and reduce cost and risk.”

Amazon FinSpace is currently accessible in the United States East (North Carolina), United States East (Ohio), United States West (Oregon), Canada (Central), and Europe (Ireland), with additional regions to follow.

About Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services has been the world's most comprehensive and widely used cloud network for over 15 years.
AWS has been steadily expanding its offerings to accommodate almost every cloud workload, and it now offers more than 200 fully featured services to millions of customers, including fast-growing start-ups and large enterprises. Start-ups, major corporations, and leading government agencies depend on AWS to power their infrastructure, allowing them to become more agile and reduce costs.

About Amazon
Amazon is motivated by four principles: customer obsession over competitor attention, a desire for invention, a dedication to organisational excellence, and long-term planning than short term- gain. Amazon aspires to be the World's Most Customer-Centric Company, the World's Best Employer, and the World's Safest Place to Work.

Spotlight

Your personality impacts how you make decisions in almost every area of your life. Your career, relationships, study habits and everything in between are impacted by your personality. It can also affect your wallet in a big way!  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a renowned self-evaluation test that helps you identify your personality and how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Once you understand your personality, you can discover what drives and motivates you from within.


Other News
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Morningstar Launches Analytics Lab, a Data Science Platform for Finance Professionals

Morningstar | May 30, 2022

Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced the launch of Analytics Lab, a new capability for data scientists and analysts in its investment analysis platform, Morningstar Direct, following the launch of the interactive research functionality last year. Analytics Lab lets users programmatically investigate Morningstar data and research more deeply to discover new opportunities for investing success. Analytics Lab gives users access to the development platform behind the prebuilt Morningstar research and data sets, enabling users to create custom notebooks in a hosted environment, combining the powers of Morningstar data with Python programming language. Investors need to extract meaningful insights from immense amounts of data every day. Analytics Lab opens the door to Morningstar's core data and research, enabling users to discover new opportunities for investing success much more efficiently in a flexible environment, Our data, analytics, and communication capabilities create a platform that's completely new to the Morningstar universe which will empower our clients like never before." Frannie Besztery, head of Morningstar Direct. For those familiar with Python, the module evolves from a prebuilt analysis tool to a fully customizable and personalized platform. Users can now explore and discover Morningstar data with flexibility and leverage previously created Data Sets, Lists and Search Criteria, and Performance Reports from Morningstar Direct. As a result, Analytics Lab allows users with coding and analytical skills to automate their workflows faster than ever before and share these results with other Morningstar Direct users at their firm. Analytics Lab incudes features to simplify the often-lengthy process of finding data and developing code including drag-and-drop capabilities to automatically insert code, robust Python documentation, sample queries, and tutorial notebooks help new users find and navigate Morningstar's data. Coding skills aren't a prerequisite to benefit from Analytics Lab's technological power. Morningstar's library of prebuilt research and data sets, couples multi-faceted data sets with automated analysis, allowing clients to quickly visualize meaningful insights and turn research into action. For example, the firm diversity data set can analyze the presence of diversity within an asset management firm's ownership, board, employee workforce, company policies, and hired service providers. Since the initial launch last year, Morningstar released 13 data sets, on various industry trends and will be launching data sets about U.S. fund fee trends, active and passive fund analysis, ESG topics, and more. About Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The Company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers and owners, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the debt and private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $265 billion in assets under advisement and management as of March 31, 2022. The Company has operations in 29 countries.

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BITCOIN AND CRYPTO

SoFi Launches No-Fee Cryptocurrency Purchases for Direct Deposit Members

SoFi | March 25, 2022

SoFi Technologies, Inc. (“SoFi”), the digital personal finance company, today announced members will now be able to invest part of every direct deposit into cryptocurrency¹ with zero fees². This feature builds on SoFi’s robust offerings for Checking and Savings³ accounts, which already includes no account or overdraft fees, up to two-day early paycheck⁴ and an industry-leading 1.00% annual percentage yield (APY).⁵ Members will be able to set a recurring purchase⁶ for the cryptocurrency of their choice with each paycheck for no purchase fee, investing either by dollar amount or percentage of their deposit, into one of 30 coins. This feature is currently live to all members with both a SoFi Invest®⁷ crypto account and SoFi Checking and Savings account. Crypto investing is rising rapidly. In the last year alone, SoFi doubled the number of investors setting up automatic, recurring crypto purchases, By adding the ability for members to automate crypto purchases right from their paycheck, we’re making it easier than ever for our members to customize how they manage their spending, saving, and investing all in one place to help them get their money right.” Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi. Alongside no-fee crypto purchasing, SoFi has launched a new online educational center to explain the ins and outs of cryptocurrency to investors. The new center is an ongoing resource to both crypto newbies and seasoned veterans alike throughout their investing journey. This product is the latest expansion of SoFi’s offerings to make it simpler to get started with cryptocurrency investing, including its offering to redeem SoFi Credit Card⁸ points directly into cryptocurrency. These features were created to allow SoFi members to invest when and how they want, all in the same app they can manage their credit card, bank accounts and investments. About SoFi SoFi helps people achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions. Our products for borrowing, saving, spending, investing and protecting give our over three and a half million members fast access to tools to get their money right. SoFi membership comes with the key essentials for getting ahead, including career advisors and connection to a thriving community of ambitious people. SoFi is also the naming rights partner of SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams.

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BITCOIN AND CRYPTO

BitPay’s Accurate Payment Protocol Adopted by Exchange Partners Bitso, Bitstamp and Wallet Partners Edge and Guarda

BitPay | April 25, 2022

BitPay, the world’s largest provider of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment services, today announced two new exchanges and two new wallets are adopting its accurate payment protocol including top crypto providers Bitso, Bitstamp, Edge, and Guarda. BitPay’s accurate payment protocol, the BitPay Protocol, enables more reliable blockchain payments by eliminating common payment exceptions including overpayments, underpayments, late payments, unconfirmed payments, and potential double-spend payments. In addition to the new partners, the BitPay Protocol has already been adopted by Blockchain Wallet, the world’s largest self-custody wallet. Many other leading wallets are also payment enabled including Electrum, BRD, Metamask, Ledger and more. Verifone’s 600,000 merchants, with a footprint of 35 million devices, also have BitPay’s Payment Protocol automatically enabled for in-store and online purchases. BitPay first launched its accurate payment specification in 2017 to eliminate payment exceptions in transactions made with cryptocurrency, setting the standard currently adopted by top wallet organizations. Since then, the company has expanded upon the available features and now businesses can accept crypto through BitPay and receive error-free payments from over 200 million crypto users. As a blockchain payment processor, BitPay’s goal is to work with all wallets, and BitPay is the only payment processor who works with more than 100 different wallets to facilitate and optimize consumer to business and business to business payments. The company has processed over $5 billion in payments volume since inception, for tens of thousands of businesses worldwide. Businesses accepting crypto should be able to accept payments from any crypto wallet and payments should post fast and be free of payment expectations. BitPay Protocol delivers on all these benefits and BitPay is pleased that our new and existing wallet and exchange partners have set the industry bar for payment quality, We are developing payment technology solutions to transform how businesses and people send, receive, and store money around the world making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive.” Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay. Since the founding of Edge, we have always been passionate about people truly using cryptocurrency to buy and sell goods and services, We are happy to support the BitPay Payment Protocol to streamline the user experience at the point of sale for thousands of merchants and further drive adoption of cryptocurrency.” Paul Puey, CEO / Co-founder at Edge. About BitPay Founded in 2011, BitPay is one of the oldest cryptocurrency companies. As a pioneer in blockchain payment processing, the company’s mission is to transform how businesses and people send, receive, and store money. Its business solutions eliminate fraud chargebacks, reduce the cost of payment processing, and enable borderless payments in cryptocurrency, among other services. BitPay offers consumers a complete digital asset management solution that includes the BitPay Wallet and BitPay Prepaid Card, enabling them to turn digital assets into dollars for spending at tens of thousands of businesses. The company has offices in North America, Europe, and South America and has raised more than $70 million in funding from leading investment firms including Founders Fund, Index Ventures, Virgin Group, and Aquiline Technology Growth.

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FUNDING

Mastercard to Add to Services Momentum with Acquisition of Dynamic Yield, McDonald’s Cutting-Edge Personalization Platform

Mastercard | December 23, 2021

Mastercard and McDonald’s today announced an agreement for Mastercard to acquire McDonald’s state-of-the-art personalization platform and decision engine company, Dynamic Yield. Dynamic Yield’s technology is a natural addition to Mastercard’s existing suite of services that help brands deliver more effective and trusted customer experiences across channels. Sitting across online and offline channels to personalize a consumer’s experience with a brand, Dynamic Yield delivers individualized product recommendations, offers and content based on a range of factors, including past purchases, page views, time of day, current store traffic and trending products. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform uses advanced AI and other technologies to support 400+ brands across the retail, financial services, travel and restaurant industries, among others. The notion of going into a store or opening a webpage to find an experience perfectly tailored to you is no longer farfetched. It’s a reality that more brands are deploying and more consumers expect. With Dynamic Yield’s expertise and our scale and relationships, we’ll be able to bring the connections between the end consumer and our customers to new heights.” Raj Seshadri, President of Data & Services, Mastercard. Mastercard plays a central role in enabling trusted digital commerce experiences, connecting billions of consumers with millions of merchants and banks around the world safely and securely. With Dynamic Yield’s technology, Mastercard will be able to help its customers and partners meet consumers’ growing demand for a more personalized experience, no matter where they shop or do business. The creation of a unified consumer engagement and loyalty hub will further extend the value of Mastercard’s network to deliver digital services for payments and beyond. This builds on the company’s long track record of providing data-driven loyalty, analytics and marketing services, rooted in focused data responsibility principles. This includes the SessionM merchant loyalty platform and Test & Learn (APT) experimentation software. McDonald’s purchased Dynamic Yield in 2019, becoming one of the first brands to integrate decision technology into its restaurants. Under McDonald’s ownership, Dynamic Yield doubled its revenue and expanded its customer base across verticals. To date, Dynamic Yield’s technology has been deployed to McDonald’s drive-thrus and ordering kiosks in several markets around the world. The deployment and enhancement of this technology has been an important component of McDonald’s Accelerating the Arches growth strategy under which the brand has also prioritized improving ordering experiences, introduced a global loyalty program and expanded its delivery footprint. The acquisition by Mastercard will strengthen unique, existing synergies across McDonald’s digital engagement experiences currently powered by SessionM and Test & Learn. In addition, McDonald’s plans to further scale and integrate Dynamic Yield’s capabilities globally and across ordering channels. “We’re delighted to continue working with McDonald’s, a longstanding client and proven innovator in this space,” Seshadri continued. In addition to McDonald’s, a number of merchant and financial services brands already use both Dynamic Yield and existing Mastercard services. Synchrony has worked with both companies on digital customer engagement. “Synchrony works hard every day to deliver simple, tailored and relevant interactions to enhance the consumer experience,” said Jeff Brousseau, Senior Vice President, Performance Marketing, Synchrony. “With Dynamic Yield, we’ve been able to deliver contextual, personalized experiences across the consumer journey. Combining this with the power of Mastercard’s other digital services unlocks additional capabilities to further enrich consumer engagement.” The transaction is anticipated to close in the first half of 2022, with the strength and talent of the extended Dynamic Yield team ensuring consistency for its customers throughout the process. Upon close, current chief technology officer Ori Bauer will take the helm as CEO. Liad Agmon, current CEO, will stay on in an advisory capacity. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. About Mastercard Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. About McDonald’s McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with nearly 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. 93% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners. About Dynamic Yield Dynamic Yield helps enterprise brands quickly deliver and test personalized, optimized, and synchronized digital customer interactions. Marketing, Product, Development, and eCommerce teams from more than 400 global brands are using Dynamic Yield’s Experience Optimization platform as the technology layer that works alongside existing CMS, Commerce, or ESP solutions to iterate faster and algorithmically match content, products, and offers to each individual for the acceleration of long-term business value.

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Spotlight

Your personality impacts how you make decisions in almost every area of your life. Your career, relationships, study habits and everything in between are impacted by your personality. It can also affect your wallet in a big way!  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a renowned self-evaluation test that helps you identify your personality and how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Once you understand your personality, you can discover what drives and motivates you from within.

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