Financial Standards and the Big Data Enterprise

A Joint Research Quest by Stevens and Columbia University

1/28/2014

A collaborated effort by the faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology and Columbia University has won a prestigious grant from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Institute (SWIFT). Dr. Steve Yang, assistant professor, School of Systems & Enterprises (SSE) at Stevens, and Dr. Suzanne Morsefield, director of Research, Columbia Business School Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis (CEASA) have secured a perfect score on their research proposal on financial standards and big data analysis.

SWIFT is a landmark institution, providing a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.

SWIFT Institute is an offshoot of the SWIFT organization, fostering independent research to understand practices, and future needs in global financial services. The Institute acts as a catalyst in bringing the SWIFT community, and academics together to explore ideas, share knowledge and extend mutual understanding.

“It is an honor and a privilege to receive the prominent grant from SWIFT - the acknowledged leader in international standards-setting for the financial industry,” said Dr. Yang. “The grant is an endorsement of SWIFT’s commitment to enhance and develop financial standards that will facilitate a better infrastructure for using data tools and designs, and augment the understanding of the financial universe.”

Post the economic crisis, standardization has become an essential need in the financial sector, and in an effort to enable more transparency and efficient business processes there is a great push to develop collaborations among standards across the financial universe.

Additionally, big data, a term historically used in the realm of information technology, has in recent years, become a ubiquitous phrase in the banking and financial markets across the world. With the technology influx, financial institutions have gained access to a gamut of data that can transform their business productivity, and growth, if used accurately. But, the challenge is analyzing the voluminous data sets, and extracting value that can serve the financial industry in a swift manner.

As the financial industry evolves to deal with increasing regulatory pressure, new technology and new competition, the standards and processes on which it depends need to evolve too. Dr. Yang and Dr. Morsefield’s research proposes to analyze fixed data standards and the swap data repository to understand and design systems solutions that can help financial centers make better decisions, and solve data analysis problems. “The goal is to do case-studies that will tease out effective solutions and connect the dots between the different sources of data in the future, and create a repository that will serve the community in a better way,” said Dr. Yang.

“At Stevens, we look at building solutions from a technological and a systems perspective – an example is our work on developing an eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) infrastructure system which applies various analytic techniques, such as statistics and data mining, to publicly available financial disclosure information. The system will provide a platform for investors to use meaningful analytic results for better-informed decision-making, and for the academic community to conduct financial disclosure-related research,” Dr. Yang said.

Dr. Yang and Dr. Morsefield will present their research findings at the SWIFT conference on 'The future of financial standards', hosted in London, on March 25, 2014.