Photo Courtesy: Flickr, epicharmus
Credit default swaps. Collateralized debt obligations. Moral hazards. The average person might find the financial services sector and its language as mystifying as some of those involved in the industry might find semantic technology. An event hosted by OMG and the EDM Council in New York City yesterday was aimed at demystifying the latter for Wall Street. But putting the technology to work there might help clarify the discourse around financial instruments for a wider audience, including the regulators who want to deal with concentration of risk issues that played a big role in the Wall Street meltdown.
One part of the picture is FIBO, the Financial Industry Business Ontology, which was the subject of two sessions at the event. An advance discussion of the topic with Thematix principals Elisa Kendall and Jim Rhyne, who was a panelist at the event, set the stage for us here at The Semantic Web Blog. “The primary practical use for an ontology like FIBO that is descriptive of various kinds of financial instruments, including so-called exotics, is that regulators and financial market participants get a common language to talk about things,” Rhyne explains. This is important, given that financial regulators try hard to be collaborative with the industry, pointing out the need, he says, for careful management of financial instruments, including recommendations about capital buffers to deal with downside risk and asking for timely reports of information that would allow them to assess the possibility that a systemic problem could occur rather than directly intervening by stopping trades.
Especially in the derivatives marketplace, there is a lot of “funky terminology,” he says, and not all of it is as well-understood as it should be. Different parties and different parts of the marketplace may call the same instrument by different terms, and one of FIBO’s aims is to provide a common vocabulary.