Bloomberg is encouraging third party developers to build innovative apps for traders

Bloomberg has released Bloomberg App Portal, a feature it says will help financial services companies to build and share new apps that will revitalise the industry.

The Bloomberg App Portal team, led by Claudio Storelli, reviews applications sent in by developers and selects the most promising. Once selected, application developers receive technical and business support from the Bloomberg team. The idea is that software companies can use the App Portal to develop innovative tools for customers and gain widespread exposure quickly.

“Software developers with a great idea, but limited global reach, can work with Bloomberg to get in front of financial professionals around the world virtually overnight,” said Stanley Young, chief executive at Bloomberg’s enterprise products and solutions. “Our intention is to complement Bloomberg’s existing functionality with third-party applications that enable our clients to achieve success.”

The new apps are designed to work on Bloomberg Terminals, and also on the iPad. Users pay a monthly subscription to use their chosen apps. There are 45 applications available, including apps for data analysis, news and research, portfolio management and risk analysis, valuation and pricing, data visualisation and technical analysis. Users can download and review virtually all the applications for a preview period before purchase is required.  Companies can also use the App Portal to release their own software tools to employees and clients.

One of the apps currently available, Social Media Indicator, built by French company IoSquare, aggregates social media posts relating to certain stocks or indices and uses them to derive a “sentiment index” for each stock. The ‘sentiment’ can then be plotted on a graph against the actual price of the stocks. In a demonstration seen by Banking Technology, the rise and fall of sentiment on the ‘twitter’ index sometimes preceded the rise and fall of the actual stock – suggesting that, in some cases, social media may be impacting actual price valuations.

Other apps include one that can forecast the future trajectory of stock, based on company fundamentals such as data on revenues, expenses, interest rates and other details. The app can also calculate the probability of 10,000 different scenarios and then plot the results as a bar chart, so that users can see whether an investment idea is likely to work or not.

“This is disruptive technology,” said Tom Secunda, co-founder and global head of Bloomberg’s financial products and services group. “A PHD student in Romania, to take one real-life example, who believes that physics can be used to predict stock movements, can now build that into a usable app. This would have been impossible in the past. By cultivating the third-party developer community, so much expertise and creativity can now be unlocked. It’s revolutionary.”

Bloomberg confirmed that it currently has several hundred more apps in the pipeline.

“Closed communities ultimately die,” said Young. “Bloomberg is not a closed community. Bloomberg is an open environment –we publish our APIs and have a whole industry of third parties developing new content. We are encouraging third-parties to bring the benefits of innovation to all.”

Apps for financial services have become increasingly popular in the last 18 months. Banks such as UBS have whole series of mobile apps for investors; stock exchanges including Qatar and Warsaw have also released their own apps in recent months. Former Goldman Sachs trader Anton Kreil even plans to carry out the world’s first trade from space in early 2014, using a mobile device.