AWS Re:Invent

Goldman Sachs debuts AWS-powered cloud for financial services sector

Goldman Sachs is building on its decade-long relationship with Amazon Web Services to launch a cloud-based environment that other financial services firms can use for data analytics and processing purposes

Goldman Sachs is making good on its plan to provide a cloud-based data management and analytics platform to other members of the financial services industry, with the help of long-standing technology partner Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The endeavour was announced during the opening keynote of the AWS Re:Invent customer and partner conference in Las Vegas by the cloud giant’s CEO, Adam Selipsky, who took over the company reins from Andy Jassy earlier this year

Known as the Goldman Sachs Financial Cloud for Data, it is a cloud-native setup designed to help financial services companies save time and money on developing their own data management and analytics tools by providing them with a set of ready-built cloud-based services they can use instead.

“Many of the existing solutions for financial data management and analytics are based on a patchwork of legacy technologies that struggle to meet the latency and scale requirements of modern investment practices,” the companies said, in a joint statement.

“As a result, investment firms may spend their engineering expertise managing undifferentiated infrastructure and wrangling data, rather than innovating at the speed they would like for their customers.”

The pair claim users will be able to combine their proprietary data with Goldman Sachs’ own curated financial market datasets for analysis and processing purposes in real time.

David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, said – together with AWS – the firm was on course to “redefine” the future of cloud for financial services companies, while also allowing them to free up their in-house developer resources.

“We are excited to bring together the two leading firms in financial services and cloud computing to deliver an unparalleled solution for financial data management and analytics on the cloud, revolutionising how our clients extract value from the increasing wealth of information in our industry.”

Internal discussions about building a cloud-based core technology platform that could be sold as a service to other financial services firms are known to have been underway at Goldman Sachs since at least February 2020.

As reported by Computer Weekly at the time, these discussions are known to have centred on the possibility that Goldman Sachs could emulate the origin story of AWS, as well as take a lead on how the public cloud giant sells its services to customers.

“In the same way AWS was conceived, both as an internet product to streamline Amazon.com’s operations and as an external product to offer the same benefits to any company facing similar issues, our core technology services can be externalised to other financial institutions,” wrote Goldman Sachs’ co-CIO, Marco Agenti, in an internal email published by Yahoo Finance in early 2020.

Agenti, incidentally, formerly held the position of vice-president for technology at AWS before joining Goldman Sachs in 2019.

The two companies had been working together for more than a decade before deciding to forge even closer ties through the creation of the Goldman Sachs Financial Cloud for Data initiative.

As referenced by Selipsky during the keynote, AWS has worked with Goldman Sachs in the past to bring to market new customer-facing digital banking experiences, including its digital challenger banking service, Marcus.

The roll-out of Marcus constitutes something of a departure for Goldman Sachs, as it offers consumer-focused savings accounts to customers, when traditionally the firm has concentrated on courting institutional investors.

“We’ve been working with Goldman Sachs for over a decade as they’ve innovated and introduced new experiences like Marcus [and recently] we realised together that there’s a really big opportunity to help other financial services companies also leap forward in data management and analytics,” said Selipsky.

“The Goldman Sachs Financial Cloud for Data combines Goldman’s decades of investment data and financial analytics experience with AWS’s industry-leading cloud,” said Selipsky.

“Together, we’ll reduce the time and the developer resources that investment firms spend managing infrastructure and wrangling data and provide them with advanced analytics capabilities.”

Furthermore, the initiative will also make these technologies available to a wider range of individuals in the financial services industry, including asset managers and investment fund operators.

“With minimal setup, clients can now analyse a range of financial datasets at scale, using the latest quantitative techniques that Goldman Sachs uses to analyse markets in real time and facilitate millions of trades per day,” he added.

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