Market Overview

How Open Source 'Can Become The Default' In Financial Services Collaboration

How Open Source 'Can Become The Default' In Financial Services Collaboration

The finance industry is going through a technological revolution — sometimes in fits and starts.

Amid the waves of change that have come with the advent of mobile, cloud and blockchain technology, a group of industry players have embraced open source technology as an accelerator of technological innovation.

Those players, including Wall Street’s largest banks, are gathering at the Open Source Strategy Forum in London Nov. 14, said Gabriele Columbro, the executive director of the conference's organizer: the Fintech Open Source Foundation, or FINOS. 

"We realized last year that there's a much broader opportunity for collaboration in financial services,” Columbro said.

“Cloud computing, SQL and big data, and blockchain would not exist without open source. We realized that by enabling trust and an environment where buy side, sell side and fintech firms could collaborate, we could help the entire industry succeed. Our goal is to build better software faster that benefits the whole industry.”

'Open Source Can Become The Default' 

The November conference is the second Open Source Strategy Forum, and Columbro said the messaging of the first conference in 2017 focused on the “why?” of open source. The answer, he said, is that open sourcing allows consistency in regulatory compliance.

If everyone's building with the same tools, it’s easier to be transparent.

This year’s event is focused on the “how?” — the manner in which the finance industry can adopt open-source development.

"To understand where we are in the trajectory, we use the 'crossing the chasm' model,” Columbro said.

The model describes the adoption of technology around a curve, with pioneers, adopters, late adopters and laggards, he said. 

"Right now, we're on the cusp of the chasm. Once you're past it, it snowballs. Open source can become the default way of collaborating in financial services.”

Winning Over Middle Management 

Waves of technological change don’t occur overnight, and Columbro said the key battle for FINOS and the conference is winning hearts and minds among key stakeholders in financial institutions.

Firms and developers on both the buy- and sell-side are on board with open source, but middle management on the buy side still needs to see proofs of concept like those showcased at the Open Source Strategy Forum, Columbro said. 

“When you look within a company, we have the hearts and minds of developers,” he said.

“Developers, particularly millennial ones, are the GitHub generation. We're winning support from executives, but our biggest challenge in 2019 is the middle management. The risk balance is not properly incentivized to embrace a disruptive methodology yet.”

If you can’t make it to the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco November 14, consider the Open Source Strategy Forum. Benzinga readers get 50% off ticket prices with the coupon code Benzinga50.

Related Links: 

Charles Schwab, Venmo, Fidelity Execs Among 2018 Benzinga Fintech Summit Guests 

The Symphony Software Foundation: Bringing Open Source To Wall Street 

Courtesy photo of Gabriele Columbro. 


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