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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • NTT Data to Upgrade ANSER Financial Services Network
  • September 30, 1998 (TOKYO) — NTT Data Corp. revealed to Nikkei Computer that it plans to upgrade its ANSER financial network by the spring of 1999.
    The plan aims to realize a “one-stop financial service” to allow users to select a combination of financial products provided by banks, securities companies and life insurance companies. It is also planning to review its PC software application programming interface (API). Microsoft Corp. decided to use Money in compliance with such an API, according to NTT Data.

    The current ANSER started operations in 1981 as a joint network for financial institutions to carry out their services such as inquiries of bank balances as well as requests for fund transfers and transfers to other accounts.

    NTT Data’s decision to fully update ANSER follows the company’s realization that the “current ANSER won’t be able to satisfy the needs of individuals and corporate clients after the financial ‘big bang’ large-scale reform of financial systems,” according to Masaharu Murakami, manager in charge of the First Network Systems Sales and Marketing Group of NTT Data’s Financial Network Division.

    The next generation of ANSER, due to start in March 1999, will interconnect services of banks, securities companies and life insurance companies, so as to “provide a comprehensive service (a one-stop service) made possible by breaking down industry barriers,” Murakami said.

    Users with PC utilities including asset management software can perform a series of transactions, including purchasing stocks through a securities company and transferring payment funds from a bank account. Because ANSER now separates three different services by type of financial institution, it cannot offer such integrated transactions.

    Also, NTT Data will review APIs used to call ANSER services from utilities such as asset management software. Conventional APIs have a problem because their contents differ according to financial institutions, even if they use identical APIs.

    The APIs for the next generation of ANSER will be standardized through the initiative of the ANSER-API Consortium established this April by multiple financial institutions. They are due to be enhanced based on APIs of ANSER SPC, or services corresponding to TCP/IP of the current ANSER system.

    “Microsoft has already decided to have Money support standard APIs. In addition, several vendors will use asset management software to meet the requirement,” Murakami said.

    The new ANSER can be accessed through the Internet. However, functions will be limited to services such as balance inquiries and detailed statements. Directions to move money such as fund transfers and transfers to another account will be handled through an SPC dedicated network.

    “Although we are implementing some security measures including encryption technology, we cannot fully ease our concerns over Internet security,” Murakami noted.

    Multi-currency transactions will be permitted in the next-generation ANSER. The U.S. dollar and the German mark can be used as units of currency for balance reference as well as for directions of transfers of funds and transfers to other accounts. They are supported mainly in corporate services realizing multi-currency accounting and consolidated accounting conforming to new international accounting standards.

    When connecting a corporate accounting system with the next-generation ANSER, it is possible to evaluate the market value of financial assets corresponding to multiple currencies.

    (Nikkei Computer)

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