Microsoft and Saxo Bank, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based bank and financial technology (fintech) services provider, want to expedite Wall Street’s migration to cloud computing.
The companies announced on April 24 the formation of a strategic partnership intended to accelerate cloud adoption in the financial services industry. As part of the deal, Saxo Bank plans to move its entire technology stack to Microsoft's cloud, a major undertaking.
More than 100 financial institutions use Saxo Bank's trading platforms, according to the so-called banking-as-a-service provider. The firm also maintains 120 white-label partnerships along with trading and investment technologies that offer banks and brokerage firms access to more than 35,000 financial instruments.
Anticipating more clients, Saxo Bank appears ready to dispense with many of the burdens of managing one's own IT services. "By leveraging the Microsoft Cloud, we can spend more time on developing technology and less time on running it, allowing us to continue to stay at the forefront of client-focused digitization and support our ambitious growth plans," commented Kim Fournais, founder and CEO of Saxo Bank, in an April 24 announcement.
The partnership may also help improve cloud computing's standing in the eyes of regulators. Fournais added that his company is looking forward to "working with key stakeholders such as regulators to ensure that cloud solutions continue to evolve and support the high regulatory standards that define the financial industry."
Microsoft's fintech ambitions reach beyond hosting banking-related services on the cloud.
During Sibos 2017, a financial services technology conference held in Toronto last fall, the software maker showcased how its artificial intelligence offerings are helping organizations like Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation provide interactive customer service experiences. Another area of interest for Microsoft is blockchain, the technology that has helped fuel the crypto-currency boom.
Blockchain is the distributed database technology that many fintech companies and security-conscious organizations are pinning their hopes on. If it lives up to its promise, blockchain may usher in an era of secure transaction systems that cut out the middleman and efficient, fraud-free recordkeeping systems.
Furthering the cause, Microsoft lent its support to Project Ubin Phase 2, in collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore. The successful project involved blockchain prototypes capable of clearing and settling payments and securities between major banks.
Rival cloud provider Amazon is also supplying enterprises with blockchain technology aimed at next-generation financial applications or other uses in the enterprise. On April 19, the cloud-computing giant released new AWS Blockchain Templates that can help businesses get a running start on their blockchain-based projects.
"These templates will let you launch an Ethereum (either public or private) or Hyperledger Fabric (private) network in a matter of minutes and with just a few clicks," blogged Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at Amazon Web Services (AWS). "The templates create and configure all of the AWS resources needed to get you going in a robust and scalable fashion."