Open Innovation: A New Chapter in Financial Services

April 24, 2018

As a firm believer in the power of open innovation, I am thrilled to announce the launch of the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS). This newly broadened, non-profit organization is a product of the growing passion for Open Source software development in finance—and our aim to create better outcomes through a vibrant community of like-minded professionals.

Built for Finance

Across organizations and at all levels of the decision chain, the financial services sector is transforming. Hedge funds are running on algorithms. Banks are betting on blockchain. Fintech start-ups are mad for machine learning, and AI is out of The Valley and onto Wall Street. To keep pace during this period, our industry needs to work together in a new, dynamic way. I am convinced that open collaboration is a pillar of this new approach.

There’s just one catch: in other industries where Open Source has succeeded, independent entities such as foundations and trade organizations have played a critical role in fostering success. They have facilitated cooperation among players (often hard to do between fierce rivals) and encouraged dialogues necessary to solving common problems.

This is precisely the role FINOS is playing in financial services. We know—and are fully focused on—this one industry. Our contribution to it is the provision of a trusted, independent forum, the cultivation of a vibrant community, and the delivery of the technological support necessary for this cooperation to thrive.

FINOS is already 30 member organizations strong—and growing. In fact, we announced yesterday that UBS, GitHub, Red Hat, Thomson Reuters, and Nodesource have recently joined our ranks. I am particularly excited to grow our membership diversity with organizations rooted in Silicon Valley and bringing a wealth of Open Source corporate and community experience. We will continue to help this community develop—and provide services to it—throughout the coming year.

Here’s a preview of what’s in store:

Introducing FINOS Programs

The FINOS community is organized around open collaborative programs, initiatives focused on solving industry-common business problems through Open Source projects and open standard working groups. Our programs are open to everyone, and our team is dedicated to growing our community by expanding our list of programs and contributors to the existing programs. In addition to the Symphony Program and Plexus Interop, we will have several new programs that will soon be announced. As of today, though, FINOS already provides a home for 64 projects, 82 Open Source repositories and over 300 contributors.

Open Developer Platform

As our program roster and membership expand, we will provide increasing functionalities to our Open Developer Platform (ODP). ODP offers a secure and compliant end-to-end developer workflow, which sets the bar for Open Source collaboration standards in highly regulated industries. The ODP also supports asynchronous collaboration, which allows our community to work together on anything, from anywhere, at any time. ODP is free of charge for all our contributors.

Innovation Enablement

In addition to providing software development support, FINOS will help its members capture growth opportunities through its member enablement services. These services provide mentoring, support, and guidance for utilizing and building Open Source technology. Our premier enablement service, the soon-to-be-launched Open Source Readiness Program, will provide policies, tools, and strategies to facilitate effective participation in open innovation. The adoption of common standards is an integral part of Open Source success, and FINOS will work together with its community members to develop the technological and legal uniformity needed for interoperability and exchange of value. With these services at their disposal, FINOS members will receive the support they need to step confidently into open innovation. 

Community Events

We are deeply invested in creating meaningful opportunities for face-to-face interaction among our members and community. To that end, every month, we host events designed to cultivate comradery and reinforce our community identity. We will also continue to feature our cornerstone event: the Open Source Strategy Forum (OSSF). In 2017, the OSSF was attended by more than 300 executives and senior technologists from firms like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Google, Citigroup, Barclays, Dropbox, Morgan Stanley, and GitHub and featured presentations covering everything from blockchain projects to Open Source patent strategy. This year (November 14th), the OSSF will take place in London, where we plan to build on the momentum established. Sign up for our updates today!

Join the Movement

We are honored that FINOS begins its mission with a deep roster of firms and individuals eager to work together and who trust us to do things right. I’ve spent over a decade delivering business value through open innovation, and my experience gives me every reason to believe that the time is right for this approach in financial services.

Don’t be mistaken: we have the opportunity to dramatically improve the way this industry operates. And in the era of fintech platforms and decentralization, we believe there could not be a better time to provide a trusted and independent home for a new way of collaborating in the industry.

I want to close by thanking our Community, our members and board of directors and my stellar team for all the support and trust that has propelled the launch of FINOS. But my call goes out to every firm and individual on the Street and it’s simple: help us make this revolution happen.  Every effort counts and gets amplified by the global sounding board of our community. This is the magic of Open Source, so don’t be shy and send us your thoughts!

- Gab