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OpenFin Reaches Critical Mass

Adam Toms, chief executive of OpenFin Europe, said the technology has become the standard operating system across capital markets as it is being used across nearly 200,000 desktops in 1,500 banks and buy-side firms.

Adam Toms, OpenFin

Toms told Markets Media: “We have reached critical mass as the default operating system. There has been a shift to OpenFin being viewed as more like an industry utility.”

The OpenFin desktop operating system is similar to the Android or iOS operating platform for mobile phones but was launched to provide standardisation across capital markets desktops so that the industry can deploy new applications more quickly and they will be interoperable.

“OpenFin is on nearly 200,000 desktops across 1,500 unique firms, including 13 of the 15 largest investment banks, across a number of different areas,” added Toms.

He continued that desktop numbers are expected to increase as OpenFin has a number of significant projects launching with clients this year.

OpenFin will further increase its penetration on the buy side as FlexTrade, which provides execution and order management trading systems for asset managers, announced a partnership with the firm this month.

FlexTrade said traders will be able to seamlessly integrate third-party vendor applications deployed on the OpenFin operating system into their workflows while benefiting from full interoperability. In addition, FlexTrade will be able to roll out new desktop applications to its clients more quickly as they will use a common language.

Andy Mahoney, head of sales at FlexTrade UK, said in a statement: “FlexTRADER has operated an open architecture model for many years, ensuring traders have the data and workflows they need right at their fingertips. Connecting with the interoperability bus from OpenFin allows FlexTRADER users to both source normalized data, and control other applications from within the trader’s day-to-day workflow without information leakage.”

Mahoney continued that this saves users from unnecessary mouse clicks or context switches, which frees up their time to work on the more important tasks.

Toms added: “FlexTrade is used by the largest asset managers and the partnership shows that they are aware of the need for an interoperable, contextually aware desktop for the buy side.”

Compliance and operations

OpenFin initially gained traction on front office desktops but last year it partnered with risk technology provider Numerix so the operating system began to be used in middle and back offices. This month Irisium, KRM22’s market surveillance application, deployed on OpenFin’s operating system.

“We started in the front office but now have use cases in compliance and operations,” added Toms. “Irisium was the first compliance vendor to join OpenFin.”

Irisium will be able to easily share and receive information from other independent and permissioned desktop apps as they will be interoperable on the OpenFin operating system.

Saeed Patel, director of product strategy at KRM22, said in a statement: “Making Irisium available through the OpenFin framework will allow us to efficiently deliver continuous service enhancements to end users without large overheads. Our customers including banks, brokers and asset managers, will benefit from the enhanced user experience with the strong security they require.”

Cloud services

Toms said there is a big focus in the industry on managing screen real estate. He added: “A generational shift is happening on what is possible on the desktop.”

For example, in February the firm launched OpenFin Cloud Services allowing market participants to launch their own private app store and workspace management solution out of the box, eliminating the need for clients to set up their own bespoke development project. Users can choose from internal and third-party apps curated for their organisation.

Nick Kolba, chief product officer at OpenFin, said in a statement: “We don’t mix being a platform provider with being a content creator. We provide the technology, but it’s not Our app store; it’s Your app store. You decide what’s in your store, you set your branding, you decide who has access to what.”

The OpenFin app store incorporates FDC3 App Directory standards allowing all applications to be automatically discoverable and form part of the user’s workflow. The Financial Desktop Connectivity and Collaboration Consortium (FDC3) was founded by OpenFin in 2017 in collaboration with major industry participants to enable universal connectivity and standards across all desktop applications.

“FCD3 was ratified as a standard two weeks ago and its use will save the industry tens of millions of dollars,” added Toms. “Facilitating the inception of the standard and contributing it to an open source foundation was the right thing to do.”

Last year OpenFin contributed the FCD3 initiative to the Fintech Open Source Foundation. FINOS is an independent nonprofit organization promoting open standards and open source in financial services.