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Open Source in Finance Podcast: Open Source in Finance Forum (OSFF) London Wrap Up

July 26, 2022

In this episode of the podcast, FINOS CTO Jane Gavronsky, Senior Technical Architect Rob Moffat, and Head of Marketing Grizz Griswold do a retrospective of the most recent edition of the Open Source in Finance Forum (OSFF) London from July 2022. We talk about the keynotes, the hallway track, roundtables, and key takeaways from the event. 

Episode show notes and transcript are available below.

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Grizz Griswold 0:03
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are. This is Grizz Griswold Head of Marketing at FINOS. And this is the open source and finance podcast. And on this episode of the podcast, I sit down with Jane Gavronsky and Rob Moffatt, both of FINOS, we talk about OSFF London, things that we saw the keynotes and also key takeaways from the conference as well. So sit back, relax, and cue the music

Good morning, good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are. This is Grizz Griswold, Head of Marketing for FINOS. Hope you're doing well. Today, we're gonna do a little retrospective of OSFF, Open Source in Finance Forum London. And today with me, we have our CTO from FINOS Jane Gabronsky. Say hi, Jane. Hello, everybody. And then we also have are going to mess it up again, senior architect. What's your whole Rob Moffat? What is your job? And what do you do?

Rob Moffat 1:21
Hi Grizz, I'm a technical architect at FINOS. I've only been here for like four months now. It's gonna be good to figure this out.

Grizz Griswold 1:28
Well, I remember last time you're here, I did promote you to chief technical architect. So I almost did it again. I was like, no, wait, that was what I anyway. Hi rob, good to good to hear from you and see you again. And a couple weeks ago, we were we were all in London together with the with the larger FINOS team as well. And like I said, what we want to do today is just kind of go through and talk about some of the things we saw some of the keynotes, some of the other talks as well, some of the announcements, and just a tiny retrospective. And then And then really talk about, you know, some of the interactions that happened throughout the day. Plus some key takeaways. So if you folks are game for that, then let's take it away. And we'll probably start with and I'll put, put some of these things in the show notes. Also, producing today is Win Morgan part of the marketing staff and Win, I'll ask him to put a bunch of the links that we are talking about here today, in the shownotes. So that way, you have ample opportunity to see what we're seeing. So um, so the day started out in London, with the keynote from Gab Colombro or Executive Director, Kim Prado, who's our vice chair from BMO, and Bank of Montreal, Hilary Carter, who's vice president at the Linux Foundation, research. And then we had Chris West from Cosaic, who's a lead maintainer on FDC 3, and our own Rob Moffatt, who is awarded his Linux Foundation keynote badge, keynote speaker badge today. So I thought that was pretty awesome. So Rob, do you want to talk about that?

Rob Moffat 3:26
Yeah, sure. So yeah, it was, it was quite a nice little keynote. I think. I so yeah, there was a lot. There was a lot of announcements about the state of FINOS, there's sort of things that are going on in terms of FINOS. And Gab did a little retrospective on where FINOS have been and where FINOS had come to, and we got to see some pictures of the first OSFF in London. And the I think you've just got the back room of a pub or something and got some people in it. But it was great being on stage. I mean, there was like about 300 people in the room. I think I counted when I was up on stage. So I Yeah, so. So that was nice. It was a nice little introduction. And I think the main thing I was on stage with Gab about was FDC 3. So kind of this behind the scenes over the last at least three or four months, we've been busily beavering away the FDC 3 community trying to put together the version 2.0 of the standard. And that's now reached the pre draft stage. So it was nice to announce that on stage with Chris. Chris West from Cosaic. He's been working tirelessly on this. So it's good to sort of close that chapter. And yeah, we also talked about the FDC 3 conformance program, which is where we're trying to this is where as FINOS is trying to certify the different desktop agents to make sure that they actually adhere to the FDC 3 spec in the ways that we expect them to. So So yes, that was work that's ongoing. We showed the the new FDC 3 values. And yes, yeah, I think pretty nice little keynote there from from Gab, good. Good to hear.

Grizz Griswold 5:21
Yeah. Something that, that I always key into when we do OSFF and even other things is, you know, for for the past five years, I have actually been able to watch the state of open source and financial services from his keynote speeches grow. And so it would actually be interesting to kind of, again, do a retrospective of how that that presentation has changed over the past five years. Win, can you get on that for me? Okay, so let's also talk about, you know, Kim Prado, Kim, who was at RBC, and now is at Bank of Montreal. And she actually went into kind of the specs about the tech community, which I thought that were pretty interesting. And then Hillary Carter, VP of research, again, at the Linux Foundation was talking about the announcement of the state of open source and financial services survey. We have the report that came out last year, but the survey just came out. Jane, do you want to add to either of those two or three talks.

Jane Gavronsky 6:35
So what I, there are several things that I noted, particularly around the keynote, and obviously, the one thing is the continuous progress and what Kim had talked about. But it's not just about the community growth, it's about sort of the open source, as a concept, becoming more of a essentially household name within financial services. And I think that's, that's very notable, and I expect will come out in the survey results as well. So even from the last year's survey, we saw a lot of acceptance of the fact that yes, we know about open source, we know what it can do for us. And now we want to leverage it more and more to deliver business value and to deliver innovation. So it will be interesting to see how much of that has taken root or increased in the last year. So I'm, I'm very keen to see the survey results. And I think as Gab pointed out during his speech, also the fact that the recognition that open source program offices are becoming more common within financial services organizations is also quite interesting. So that means that in trying to address the use of open source and the appropriate use of open source and efficient and effective use of it within large organizations, organizations are recognizing that open source program offices are something that will deliver that value. Yeah, this has been actually last week, nothing during OSFF. But last week, someone asked me, What is one of the key influences or key marks that FINOS has had within the industry. And the first thing to me that jumps to mind is this education of financial services industry around open source adoption. So the open source readiness program that we have running and has been running for quite some time, that facilitates and educates the community on how best to incorporate open source within your ecosystem is definitely, in my mind, one of the key cornerstones of what FINOS has contributed to the market to date.

Grizz Griswold 9:07
And as somebody who's been here, not since the very beginning, but working on this conference since the very beginning in 2017. What I can tell you in 2017 and 2018. To your point, Jane, is the majority of talks that we had those first two years were almost, you know, all around compliance. And it seemed to me it almost seemed like a lawyer convention. And but it was really like you know, how how do banks even think about doing this in the first place? And that is you know, that's why I continue to look at the the open source readiness program SIG. If it as it continues to morph as incredibly important, because it is something that that should be you know, a guideposts for for our for sellside banks, but also you know the rest of the ecosystem that that works around those sell side banks as well. And, you know, I think to both of you, you know, come from the, you know, from sell side banks, right. in different capacities, you know, maybe this is a little bit off topic, but, um, you know, how have you seen this outside of FIONS? Or maybe coming into FINOS from the banks themselves? You know, have you seen a difference in what you knew when you're inside the banks versus what you're seeing now, as far as open source and also the opening of technology?

Jane Gavronsky 10:42
Well, for me, definitely, I think that there's, in banks, there's still quite a long road to go in, adopting open source such that it can, it can fuel both innovation and efficiency, and, you know, collaborative development. So, but what's interesting to see, and I think it's very energizing for people, especially at the conference is when you have representatives from different financial institutions coming and sharing ideas in a non competitive, non secret revealing way with each other, but finding a lot in common and, and creating energy from from those conversations getting energized and going back to their respective institutions and being more excited about working together and seeing that it's quite possible and quite valuable to do that.

Rob Moffat 11:48
Yeah, I was going to jump in on that and say, Yes, this is. This is super interesting, isn't it going back to the the Linux Foundation, state of open source in finance survey. In the 2021, version, only 1/3 of banks had an OSPO. In according to the results, I'm expecting that when we get the results this year, it's going to massively increased. And I think that was that was really clear at the OSFF because there was just Well, we had a roundtable and invited lots of, OSPOS, from different banks. And we had, we had a really good selection of banks present and other financial institutions, it was, it was really nice to hear them all talking to each other and sharing their war stories really about how they're different OSPOs ran, how they'd set them up, what what they what was in and what was out in terms of their responsibilities. And I don't think you could have done that a couple of years ago, I don't think there would have been enough people to provide enough opinions. I think everyone was at a different place in the journey back then. And so they will, as later in the year, we will obviously socializing some of their findings from from that roundtable, and we're organizing further ones, virtually, and at the New York OSFF. But I think having that forum where, you know, people could come together and discuss the best way to run an OSPO. That was a there was a really nice thing that happened at OSFF and I was really happy to be part of that.

Grizz Griswold 13:31
That's pretty cool and then I know part of the the roundtable you have Ana Jimenez Santamaria from the ToDo Group was there as well, I believe, right. And she had a talk about OSPOs in finance ways overcome industry barriers to accelerate open source adoption. And I did a record a mini or primer podcast with her before the event. And we talked a little bit about what she was going to talk about. And I hope that you know, some of that came out in in your roundtable. But what I'm what I'm also interested to see is I'm going to interview Ana again and get more into OSPOs in finance, and more about her talk, but also OSPOs in finance in general, and see, you know, out of that roundtable discussion, what is you know, has there anything that's changed, you know, what, what she thinks about OSPOs in finance as well. So, some more to come in that space, I guess. So let's um, let's keep going on. Jim Zemlin, who's the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. I've seen Jim talk a bunch of times and but this was the first time I got to see him talk as my boss. But Jim came and talked and I believe that he talked a little bit about the fact that we the Linux Foundation has started the Linux Foundation Europe or, or have a focus in Europe now. No. And but then also Jim was talking about some of the work that they've been doing on security in open source projects, especially after Now, tell me too, he said he kept saying log Forge. I was like, Oh, is that really the way you say it? It makes a lot of sense, actually. But, um, or is it log for J, but the log for j log forge issues that came up in November, December and January of last year and this year, and how it's led to, you know, work in the States, from the White House, you know, really putting it to the open source community to come up with solutions to make open source more secure. And so there is a bunch of plugins within Linux Foundation, and then the open source security foundation, which part of the Linux Foundation as well. And I know that he had some trouble with slides probably shouldn't say that. Technical issues, but you know, was there anything that you took out of, from Jim's talk?

Jane Gavronsky 16:16
To me the most interesting, I really liked the fact that Open SSF is really going through their approach, very much data driven. And the statistics that Jim highlighted, which I think everybody should look at, are quite eye opening to me. And I think it's really great when we do things data driven, really make decisions on what to prioritize. And one of the things that he highlighted, which is, which was eye opening, for me, not super surprising, but I hope people take a look at is, for example, that there are currently zero universities that teach code coding security, best practices, right. And I think, you know, highlighting that, well, is really, really important, because how can people be expected to know how to do things right now we leave it to their own devices,

Grizz Griswold 17:13
I think that there are those coding classes it but however, there's no degree program that requires them for graduation, is what I got out of it. And my, my son is actually at a cybersecurity camp at a university this week. And and that is something that I've said to him. And when we visited colleges to, you know, I have asked, you know, the professors in the head of their programs, hey, what about this? And they're like, you know, they're a little quiet. So, so it, you're right, that is something that, um, that is that, you know, I mean, on the surface of it makes a lot of sense. Right. But it's not, it's obviously something that's not done by any American universities. Rob did you have any?

Rob Moffat 18:02
Yeah, I think, Jim, what Jim points out is really a hardening of the whole open source ecosystem, isn't it? I think, you know, this is something Colin Eberhardt talked about in his talk as well, which, you know, he was saying that if you, you know, NPM doesn't have two factor authentication. So if you manage to brute force or get hold of someone's password on NPM, you can start publishing packages on there and disrupt the whole NPM ecosystem, whole JavaScript world. Yeah, I think what this all points to is, is that, you know, open source has become ever more critical as a part of our, you know, just general infrastructure. And as that criticality increases, and also we realized the importance of it, we need to start doing things like open SSF and putting in these, these processes to protect ourselves, you know, that these, these issues are not going away with this, you know, state actors playing in the space of cyber attacks and stuff now, and these are, these vulnerabilities are, you know, a key way of for them to, to disrupt our infrastructure. So it's really good that we were focused on focusing on it OSFF

Grizz Griswold 19:29
Very cool. The next keynote was open source in finance an Open Source View, and it's from Declan O'Gorman, who's the head of enterprise engineering at NatWest. NatWest is a newer member of FINOS. And, and I, you know, the one of the reasons we asked them to speak was because they have kind of an interesting contribution story. And membership story is they were a contributor first, you know, from what I understand And they got involved with projects, open source projects within FINOS. And they found so much value out of that, then they became a member of FINOS. Not to push the notion of membership here. But but, you know, as a as a sell side bank that I believe that really they saw, you know, the value through action first, and then were able to, you know, actually assign dollars to it as well, I think that you should check out Declan's talk, because it's pretty interesting. Because, again, he talked about open ecosystems, and, and, and basically their view on open banking and open finance. So, and really having an open source mindset, you know, as as a sell side bank, so, um, so let's go to, I think, Jane, you might know a little bit about this one. There is a regulation innovation panel. It was moderated by Jane Gravonsky, who is the CTO of FINOS. But also Jennifer Lassiter, who runs the Digital Dollar Project, Anna Wallace, who's with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Francesca Hopwood Road, who's going to have to have - the bank of international settlements. both Francesca and Anna, were with the FCA before that, right?

Jane Gavronsky 21:29
Yeah. Yes.

So this was I mean, this is actually the second time I'm posting a discussion on regulatory innovation at all is now OSFF F but previously, OSSF. And this time, we were very lucky to have such a such a distinguished panel of perspectives. And while both Anna and Francesca were at the FCA, they are now in very different positions. So it was interesting to see, and to hear the perspectives of on regulatory innovation on different the effects on different markets, of how innovation can can bring regulatory compliance and ultimately benefits to the financial ecosystem. So I, it's fascinating to me to hear to hear these approaches, I think these women are really knowledgeable in their space, have a lot of experience and offered some really interesting perspectives. So I definitely suggest you'd recommend people listen in on that. And the fact that Anna comes to you from the Gates Foundation, where they're much more focused on the fairness to the consumer perspective, and Francesca, is more influencing kind of the the, the financial system from a collective regulatory perspective. I think it's very, they offer very interesting and diverse views. So it's, not only was this discussion stimulating, but what the, the breakout session we had afterwards, we had a bit of a roundtable together, not a roundtable, but a panel discussion together with Leo Lebais from Regnosys. And we talked about people's experiences of what works and what, what's hard, what's slightly easier, what are the next, what are the next things to look forward to is the regulatory compliance and innovation within the regulatory spaces, quite an important topic within financial services, because there are lots of regulations which people need to comply with it can be costly, and can also be very confusing. And oftentimes, to my point earlier about benefits to the consumer, it's not really clear whether the regulation benefits the ecosystem, or limits it in some way. And obviously, everybody wants the benefit side and not the limiting side. So thinking about how open source and how open collaboration can influence this. This area of financial services in a positive way is, is quite exciting. This is something that I'm actually myself spending a lot of time on right now, to try to bring all these players together and use open collaboration as a good place to do that. Which will eventually I hope and believe will lead to the development of end use of open source technologies to facilitate regulatory compliance and improve, you know, availability of financial products to the consumer within the marketplace. So that's really what we're shooting for. And it was really refreshing to have these women along with Jennifer Lasseter, who represents the Digital Dollar Project with whom we have another collaboration going together with the Hyperledger Foundation to promote open conversations around the creation of digital currencies within the marketplace. So it's always very energizing to me, and these are fun conversations. But what's even more fun, are the follow up opportunities that we have as a result of this. So I would encourage people to listen in on those sessions, and also join our reg innovation SIG, which happens monthly, where a lot of these conversations will continue.

Grizz Griswold 26:00
Very cool. We'll definitely have the links for all those in the show notes, as well. Um, all right, so the last keynote of the day, and then I'll ask you about kind of your takeaways. But the last keynote of the day was Keesa Schreane. And it was around open source technology as a starting point to greater access and inclusion. And I know Jane, you've had a lot of interest in her talk, you're telling me about it. And but I believe that let me let me describe the talk will discuss how corporates are embracing changes, such as participating in an open source building dei programs, and acting socially responsible by enhancing participation in ESG. And as I said, with Keesa, she does the DEI, the ESG, and all all of the acronyms. But um, but But tell me, you know, maybe some of your takeaways from from Keesa's talk

Unknown Speaker 27:02
to me, first of all, I love to talk where people bring in sort of stories and analogies, which are very accessible. And that happened, actually, I quoted very recently in just a private conversation, an analogy that was brought in from last year's London OSSF by someone about nuts and bolts, and I thought that was kind of very, it's a very accessible analogy that helps you to understand things very easily. And I thought Keesa did did the same thing. She had very interesting, sort of almost colloquial analogies, and I find those always fun. And she's, she's a very dynamic, very energetic speaker. So she's very, very easy to follow. You know, in a industry where technology can get a little dry, it's always nice to have someone. Yeah a little dry. It's always nice to have, you know, energy on stage, and she's definitely full of energy. So I really enjoyed that. And, of course, her call to action, and her call for inclusion and consideration, you know, as always, is always very welcome. It's something we we try to think about all the time. And ultimately, as I said earlier, the drive of openness is for inclusion and greater access, ultimately creating more products. And this is something I think that's key to our to our goals, is ultimately creating better and more accessible products, and creating a more open financial ecosystem. So, yeah, like I said, I really enjoyed her talk.

Grizz Griswold 28:53
And, you know, I got to talk to her about a month before in New York, we met up and we're kind of talking through what her talk was going to be about and everything and I've known Keesa for a little while. And so, yeah, the energy she brings to the stage, she also brings to a face to face conversation as well. So I'm glad that her message got out and, and talking with other people around the conference as well, it was well received. So, so that was cool. Um, so obviously, we had a whole bunch of other breakout sessions and we probably won't get them today but, but we are going to put links to all of the sessions. There's video for all of them. When we have the PDFs for their presentations. We put them out there as well. And we are following up with many of these speakers to talk with them. A little bit about their presentations but more about different things in open source that that they have seen in the, you know, in the different areas that they play in every single day. But I wanted to kind of get back to, you know, you and Rob is as far as maybe not the talks, but kind of the the interactions, whether it was interactions they had, and we conference, people call it the hallway track, which is, which is usually the most interesting track, actually, at any conference, which is where, you know, you really start to find out more about people what they're doing. And sometimes this with other speakers, sometimes it's with, you know, attendees that are purely attendees that are really interested in what's going on. But then, you know, you'd mentioned the the OSPO roundtable, I believe that there was kind of a, an interoperability, I don't know if I'd call it a roundtable, but a discussion as well. But can you talk about maybe some of the interactions, and then your, you know, maybe your biggest takeaways from from the event in general.

Jane Gavronsky 31:06
So, let me start and, and try to go quickly here. So yes, the interoperability roundtable was a little bit more of a square table, but got a lot of a lot of attendance. And that is something we specifically focused on to make sure that on the heels of all the releases around FDC3, the new the new version of FDC3, and moving forward that we are identifying and stimulating the conversation around real business use cases, where interoperability can bring value across the both the buy side and sell side interactions, whether it's within one institution or across institutions. So I think those conversations will continue. And it's really important for us to, to not only create the standards, but also to see them in action. And we're really looking forward to having more of those kinds of conversations and demonstrations, hopefully at the December OSFF to show how and where the projects that we have, are being deployed and used in production in which business activities or business problems they're solving, which business activities they're being implemented for. So that was super cool. And on the back of that, I'd say that it's, this is really where the conference takes flight, I feel the conversations take flight, where people are talking about real implementations, real use cases. And there's a lot of very specific technical discussions that are happening. As I said earlier, people are meeting each other from different banks and having conversations about, okay, where should we collaborate? And one last thing is, there's speaking of diversity, what struck me was compared to that room photo that Gab showed from five years ago, yeah, there was all sorts of diversity in the conference, which was fantastic. First of all, it was a lot more colorful, just just that. Second of all, there was kind of diversity in roles, like the different roles that people do, we have people who have helped us with even kind of the education angle of things. There are technical and non technical people who are coming to the conference, there was a diversity of companies represented. It's not just about banks anymore, it's all sorts of companies, including academics, which who are just dipping their toes in this water and are getting very excited. We had really good feedback from some people from academia, and so on. So that's super cool. For me.

Rob Moffat 34:04
Yeah. So it's interesting, right, I was kind of worried going into the whole OSFF that I probably wouldn't have that much to do but when it came down to it, I was just running around like a like an idiot all day long. So I you know, I was I don't know why that was, but I didn't get to talk to quite as many people as I wanted to there. There were quite a few people I wanted to to chat to and I just didn't get the chance. But I guess from my limited sampling, I was really pleased. You know, to see so many people there from the FTC three community. We had like, you know, Symphony, Scott Logic, Cosaic, blue42, Regnosys, Adaptive and we will, at Norman and sons, we all managed to get into meetings and talk to each other about what's happening in the FDC3 world. So that was a great takeaway for me it was to move those relationships forward and And then, you know, meet some of the people that I'd seen on Zoom calls, but not actually had a chance to meet in real life. So that was great. And, you know, yes, I think that's kind of the extent of the hallway track for me. Oh, yeah, I bumped into the guys on the next table to us with the Hazelcast people that was nice to talk to them as well. Yeah, lots of follow ups to do as a result of OSFF. Lots of lots of ideas and lots of people to talk to. So yeah, it was all it was, it was all a lot of fun. crazy, busy fun. But, but fun nonetheless. So yeah, it was,

Jane Gavronsky 35:42
yeah, I have to say that not probably no one in FINOS really got to talk to anyone, really. But what I found was also fun was, you know, you'd start a conversation with someone and they'd say, Oh, I'm really interested in this, and like, a light bulb will go up in my head, and I'd say, Oh, come here, I'll introduce you to this person. And we all of us kind of did that all day long, oh, person X meet person Y you have this interesting, calm, and please talk to each other. And we got really good feedback on that, as well. So Rob, I'm certain you did a lot of that.

Grizz Griswold 36:14
You know, and that is, you know, that's coming out of what this is our technically our third OSFF or OSSF, out of the pandemic, and, and when we, we kind of made a decision last year in 2021, to do this in person, and we were one of the first events for the Linux Foundation was that there was October in London. And then November in New York, were one of the first, you know, in person events, the that anybody had done in a while. And, and it's, and it's because of this is because of the interactions that come out of the hallway track is because of the interactions that that lead up to it, or, you know, we had a FINOS booth there. And you know, we had people there, but we were, there was very little downtime, which is a good thing. And, and we were always, you know, engaging with people that were coming up. And at first, it might be like, you know, the draw of swag, but it's, you know, because we're the conference organizers as well, it became more of a matchmaking, as you said, Jane, and, you know, and then, you know, then there's the, there's the other side of it, which is karaoke until 2am for some of the conference attendees, and some of my marketing team and some of the community managers, which is great. Um, and, you know, because those are the things that, that make it interesting, and the humans that are there, right. And I see a note from Win that he had a good time. Anyway, so we're gonna wrap this up. But, um, I appreciate both of your times, not only today, but also, you know, at the conference, as well, and then everything leading up to it. You know, I've said it before that, that, you know, a lot of a lot of the responsibility of OSFF and the logistics fall on on the marketing team. However, the work that, you know, the two of you and the other folks in the organization do every single day, with the different projects and the different maintainers and the different people that you talk to every single day is what really drives this community, and then makes an event like that even more successful. So I appreciate that. Because I really do believe that this was one of the most successful events that we've had as an organization because we can continue to grow as a team, we continue to grow as a community. So I'm going to drop the mic there. Again, appreciate your time today. And we will have a lot of follow up to do and if you want to get in touch with this want to get involved with the call for proposals right now for New York, it is still out. Register. There's early bird going on. There's also for FINOS members who don't have to pay as part of their membership. We're doing a swag giveaway, or I can't call it sweepstakes, right, but we will have drawings for swag for people that register early for the December event. And continue to look out for information from us sign up at and we will let you know when everything is coming out whether it's a podcast and event, a blog post or if we're coming to your town soon. All right, with that, I'm gonna say Good day Good night wherever you are...


About the Open Source in FINANCE Podcast

The FINOS Open Source in Finance Podcast celebrates open source projects and interesting topics at the cross section of financial services and open source. So far, our industry experts have discussed practical applications of and their real-world experiences with a range of open source projects including desktop interoperability, low code platforms, synthetic data, and data modeling. They’ve also discussed best practices for inner source, common myths about open source and why commercial companies choose to introduce open source offerings. Tune in and subscribe to hear what comes next.


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