API Management

A sound investment: How Monex is building a fintech ecosystem with APIs

Financial

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Daisuke Houki of Monex, Inc.., a Japanese online securities firm specializing in individual investors. Monex uses Apigee to improve security and speed when sharing its APIs with fintech partners.

At Monex, our aim is to provide our investors with the best financial services and liberal access to capital markets. That means continually providing reliable and up-to-date services for our customers. But recently we’ve experienced issues updating our back-end system when installing new services or modifying existing ones. This led us to look into using an API, to save time and simplify the processes related to the development of new products and services. Using an API allows us to develop new investment services and smartphone apps more rapidly, reducing the time to market. These new opportunities encouraged us to publish our API for everyone in the fintech business that’s developing new apps—with the aim to create even more opportunities for the industry.

Security and performance upgrades
Before we made our API available, our partner fintech firms relied on a method called "scraping" in order to display their customers’ portfolio balances in apps. Unfortunately, this method couldn't provide the standard of performance and quality sought by fintech businesses. In essence, when we developed and published our API, we made a resource available that improves security and performance for our business partners, and also simplifies the creation of new services by FinTech businesses. By placing Monex at the center of this fintech ecosystem and increasing the use of our API, we hope to enable users to access a variety of third-party services directly from their Monex accounts.

While we initially had a small development team of four members passionately working on the API program, continuing to develop and manage an on-premises API gateway was not the best way forward. That’s because even though  Monex API is compatible with OAuth 2.0, developing this compatibility from scratch would be time-consuming and expensive. Plus, operating an API gateway on premises would require significant manpower. To address this, we settled on the Apigee API management platform for development, publication, and management, to maximize functionality and reduce costs. This platform makes it simple to issue access tokens and its authentication mechanisms can use our existing back-end without the need for changes.

Becoming a hub for FinTech apps
We also discovered that the Apigee monitoring and analysis functions are extremely effective for diagnosing errors in our back-end. For us, the greatest benefit of the Apigee platform is that we have achieved major reductions in development times by leaving the API service management to Apigee. With so many functions embedded into Apigee, our API and app development have accelerated. 

We have currently published about 15 APIs for internal and external developers to support a more effective display of share and investment portfolio balance data for the end user. We are also progressing with the internal development of products that use our API, while supporting partner app development within our company's ecosystem. Going forward, we will continue our efforts to become an integrated hub for financial services that meet our customers' needs, and to expand our ecosystem with participation from FinTech developers.

To learn more about API management on Google Cloud, visit the Apigee page.