Why Bloomberg’s OpenAPI Participation Is Important for the Financial Industry
Financial media company Bloomberg’s involvement with the OpenAPI Initiative and the open source community is built on aspirations wider than just about choosing the right tools to grow a business. The stakes are especially high in these turbulent times as the ravages of COVID-19 continue to take its toll, already wiping out large swaths of the economy.
In this latest episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, we speak with two open source leaders from Bloomberg:
- Richard Norton, Bloomberg’s head of the data license engineering group.
- Kevin Fleming, head of open source community engagement and member of Bloomberg’s CTO office.
Bloomberg’s collaboration and backing of OpenAPI as well, its involvement with open source and what this means for the financial sector are discussed.
From the outset, APIs are seen as a core underpinning of what Bloomberg offers with, of course, its famous Bloomberg terminals. The data and analytics Bloomberg provides its financial institution and other customers — which might include data feeds for futures or commodities — allows for key decisions to be made, often affecting world capital markets.
“We also offer enterprise clients a way to get access to this all this information, all this rich data, as rich analytics information, so they can pull it into their own applications, their own analytics, machine learning or whatever it is they want to use this information for,” Norton said. “This strategy of how we expose this data to our customers has evolved and changed over time. And that’s where we’ve gone deeper and deeper with our API strategy, and more new and easy and interesting ways to expose this information to our customers.”
The open source community also plays a key role for Bloomberg’s API and DevOps strategy. Indeed, Bloomberg’s involvement with the OpenAPI Initiative and the open source community is important not only for Bloomberg but for the entire worldwide financial industry as well.
“Another aspect of this being open source friendly is Bloomberg and other companies in this space have traditionally offered interfaces to obtain, let’s say market data, financial data or news data that were provided as client libraries (we actually give you the library that you have to link into your software to consume our data). That’s not a very detailed developer-friendly model,” Fleming said. “People want to use different programming languages and work in different environments and all these kinds of things. So exposing your APIs via OpenAPI and other things like that means if someone says, ‘well, we’re writing all of our software in Rust and we want to be able to connect to your services and consume your data, so can you provide a technology-agnostic description that we can use to connect to your APIs?”
As a new member of the OpenAPI initiative, Bloomberg is hoping to “reinforce that we’re using a real industry standard,” Norton said. “It’s not a proprietary way of exposing data and interacting with different types of data that Bloomberg exposes. And I think it’s good to have such a player like Bloomberg being such a leader within the financial industry. We’re handling more financial instrument instruments than most other institutions and we are interacting with most other banks and investment houses across capital markets,” Norton said. “So, having [an institution] like Bloomberg there to help make sure — as that initiative shapes and sort of defines the future — could really help and represent this industry. So, I feel it is a very important part of how we can sort of benefit and how OpenAPI as an initiative can benefit, too.”
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