AllianceBernstein looks to OpenFin for new desktop technology infrastructure

US asset manager to overhaul digital infrastructure based on OpenFin operating system incorporating legacy and third-party applications.

US-based investment management and broker AllianceBernstein has partnered with OpenFin to overhaul its existing desktop technology infrastructure to a cloud-based operating model.

OpenFin will provide AllianceBernstein with its application-agnostic operating system (OS) created specifically for financial markets participants, and is now in the process of migrating the investment manager’s existing .NET and legacy applications onto the web-based OpenFin OS.

The project forms part of AllianceBernstein’s digital transformation strategy and Michael Herskovitz, co-head of technology and operations at the firm, told The TRADE that its strategy revolves around modernising its technology infrastructure while maximising the usage of third-party applications coming to market.

“It was a critical component of ensuring that as we were migrating applications to the cloud, we were able to build key components of interoperability, that allowed us to link applications quickly, and also to avoid having to deal with a morass of APIs,” Herskovitz explained.

“Now we have taken it even further to understand how we can link applications and tools internally, both things that we build as well as things that we integrate.”

One of the largest obstacles facing buy-side firms that are transitioning to a new technology stack is how to incorporate legacy applications and code that are integral to workflows into a new structure without disrupting vital processes.

Herskovitz said that by deploying a cloud-based operating system, AllianceBernstein provides a higher level of interoperability between legacy code or third-party applications that does not impact negatively on workflows.

“The degree to which you can now bring your legacy into your current generation of development allows you to have a migration path that is much more straightforward, rather than having to plan around waiting months, or even years, before retiring a piece of code,” he said.

“It allows you to give users that are comfortable with their existing functionality a transition period that is less of a shock therapy approach.”

Cloud-based technologies have become a staple of upgraded technology infrastructures on the buy-side and Adam Toms, CEO of OpenFin Europe, said that this has become a sea change for those asset managers aiming to optimise interoperability.

“With this OS layer now being used across the financial markets it really facilitates this level of interoperability for internal and external applications,” he said. “It traces back to the FCD3 initiative that we launched some time ago and contributed into FINOS, which is going to serve as the pillar how interoperability truly scales across the industry.”