Blog Posts — August 8, 2022

The API advantage

Through both installed software and cloud-based SaaS solutions, Qontigo has a long history of developing and offering API-based solutions for software challenges. Outlined below are some of the top benefits of using APIs:

APIs enable both customization and deeper integration into your workflows. They make software fit into your unique workflow, and not the other way around. Don’t get us wrong, using a GUI has its perks, such as quick implementation and onboarding, but for connectivity across your entire investment system, APIs make a big difference.

That’s why we designed our multi-asset risk solution, Axioma RiskTM, natively on the cloud ten years ago using an API-first approach. With a decade of experience, our experts help clients seamlessly implement the cloud-native technology, so they have the tools to do their job more efficiently and with more time to focus on what matters.

By transferring data and consuming services (especially risk) via software-as-a-service APIs, data can be inserted as and when available, and inserts can be parallelized. Large flat file transfers are a dated mechanism for sending and receiving data. A vendor must read one line at a time and deal with each item in serial. This is inefficient from a computing perspective and brittle from a process point of view. One small failure can halt a batch. APIs can be significantly faster for the same payload. You get your results more quickly to help you make the right investment decisions.

APIs can be wrapped in other APIs to reduce the need for repetitive tasks (e.g., authentication or polling for job results). We recently launched an open-source python wrapper of the Axioma Risk API known as Axioma-Py. Hosted on GitHub, Axioma-Py allows open-source development, increases the speed of integration and helps streamline client usage of our REST APIs. It also allows us to further collaborate with our clients and incorporate their requests efficiently. Clients can submit their feedback, issues and suggestions directly to us on GitHub, allowing us to tailor their risk analytics workflow.

Traditional risk software runs in large, slow batches, often limited to once daily. If there is a problem and if the batch needs to be re-run, you’ve got to wait until the next day. RESTful APIs have clear advantages when it comes to efficiency, including:

  • Speed: You get results when they are ready — no need to wait for the entire batch. Results can be processed for some calculations while others are still running, so your entire set is processed faster.
  • Robustness: If any element of an API batch fails, the exact part can be resolved and re-run. You don’t need to wait to re-run the entire batch, and you can check for quality assurance throughout the consumption process.

By providing direct access to individual cloud services, our REST APIs enable workflows that are not available via SFTP or the GUI. For example, clients can contact our analytics service, specify both portfolio and analytics information in the payload and run fully dynamic calculations without persisting any data into a database. This allows what-if / pre-trade workflows without having to clean up positions and analytics.

RESTful web services allow for language-agnostic web calls, which simplifies the implementation process. Quants and developers can more easily test and write code in their preferred languages, which saves time and makes for an easier onboarding process for new developers.

APIs allow you to work with multiple vendors or take an internal approach. Let’s consider Axioma Risk, for example. We have clients who wrap our APIs in their own, and if their business needs change in the future, they can recode the calls in their own API. This gives clients the flexibility to work with many best-of-breed providers and seamlessly integrate various products of their choosing rather than being confined to one offering.

Learn more about our API-first philosophy

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Qontigo is a leading global provider of innovative index, analytics and risk solutions that optimize investment impact. As the shift toward sustainable investing accelerates, Qontigo enables its clients—financial-products issuers, asset owners and asset managers—to deliver sophisticated and targeted solutions at scale to meet the increasingly demanding and unique sustainability goals of investors worldwide.

Qontigo’s solutions are enhanced by both our collaborative, customer-centric culture, which allows us to create tailored solutions for our clients, and our open architecture and modern technology that efficiently integrate with our clients’ processes.

Part of the Deutsche Börse Group, Qontigo was created in 2019 through the combination of Axioma, DAX and STOXX. Headquartered in Eschborn, Germany, Qontigo’s global presence includes offices in New York, London, Zug and Hong Kong.