Copyright ACM, 2000

Web-Based Money Investment Consultant

Wolfgang Golubski
Universität-GH Siegen, FB 12 Elektrotechnik & Informatik
Hölderlinstraße 3
D-57068 Siegen, Germany

Thomas Feuring
Universität-GH Siegen, FB 12 Elektrotechnik & Informatik
Hölderlinstraße 3
D-57068 Siegen, Germany

Johannes-Bernhard Hundhege
GAD Münster
Weseler Str. 500
D-48163 Münster, Germany


Client/Server models are the background for developing application programs in the field of electronic commerce. In this paper we present a web-based online consultant service for money investment. The developed Client/Server application is based on CORBA and Java. It enables customers to find the best investment strategies according to their personal preferences. In the article we give a survey of the tool and its implementation.



Internet and Electronic commerce (E-commerce) are of increasing interest. It is expected that billions of USD will be earned in this new business market the next decade. The explosive growth of E-business will change totally and fundamentally the business environment of the 21-th century and this process has already began. Right now we are focusing that more and more information is accessible via Internet. Year ago the new medium was used by scientist only but now most companies have their own web-sides where they offer their products as well as many further information. Since customers need this product information in order to decide which product should be bought, one way of getting this is to access the Internet. We already can buy software, books and even products from a grocery store via the Internet. But there is no web assistance for money investment purposes (at least to the authors knowledge). This is the aim of this paper. We are focusing here on the development of a web-based application for customers who would like to invest money. Online-banking supports the movement of money from savings account to some other account for instance but these systems do not yet support the money investment. So, we present how customers can be guided interactively to find out where to invest there money. Our interactive bank agent will select the most appropriate investment forms based on special needs of customers. In order to find the best saving plans several questions about the personal situation need to be answered. Developing such a web-based application must combine several different technical aspects like product presentation (in form of WWW-pages), Internet communication (in form of HTTP, IOOP), database (managing all data), and programming the consultant (in Java). Our online consultant system is based on client/server [5] and the CORBA [2,3,4,6] model. CORBA is a result of a standardization process of the OMG (Object Management Group) in which over 800 companies (e.g. SUN, IBM, HP) are involved. CORBA models a distributed system based on objects on heterogeneous platforms including the needed communication infrastructure. The communication mechanism is transparent for the programmer and easy to use. CORBA is a middle-ware between operating systems and application programs.

The Product

One important part of the banking business is the investment of money. A customer usually goes to his bank and says that he would like to invest money. A human bank employer or consultant inquires about the concrete investment amount, the period of time, the risk-taking, the motivation (old-age retirement plan, wealth formation, house financing,..) and a lot of other aspects. Concerning the customer's answers the consultant proposes an investment form selected from a number of investment forms like savings account, savings depot, fixed interest bonds, stocks, block of shaves, life insurance, or funds. Exactly these steps should be provided by the developed online tool. The customer can use this tool at home to get information before going to the corresponding bank and making the investment. The electronic consultant should not replace the human but should be viewed as an assistance for the customer. One critical point in this scenario concerning the realization of the human consulting process is the selection of the appropriate investment form. The human decision to propose a certain investment form is based on a long-time experience in the consultant business. This means that human knowledge must be simulated in an appropriate way. In our electronic consultant we have chosen the method where each customer specific data (or preference) is rated with respect to each investment form. Therefore we have a matrix of customer data and investment forms. Each matrix element has a certain value which was determined before by detailed investigations about the human consulting process in a bank. In this way an overall rate can be evaluated for a customer investment wish. Altogether the customer can select from more than 30 parameters like investment amount, the period of time, and so on. More than 40 investment forms are compared.

Program Flow

The web-based money investment consultant tool is implemented in client/server style with CORBA and Java [1,5]. All classes specified before are defined as CORBA-objects so that on client- and server-side a separate ORB Object Request Broker must run which is responsible for the object communication over the Internet. Next a step-by-step explanation of that what takes place when a customer uses the tool is given:
The server of a bank offers the web-based money investment consultant which representation is formulated in HTML and Javascript form.
By means of a HTML and Javascript capable browser the customer feeds his personal data.
These data are transformed into a
The Java Runtime Environment transmits the
ConsultantProtocol over the Internet to the bank server. This happens by using the ORB on client-side which transmits the data to the ORB on server-side.
The communication over the Internet is controlled by the Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP) provided by the ORB implementation, in our case by Visigenic's Visibroker [7].
The Java Runtime Environment on server side receives via its ORB the message to evaluate an investment recommendation.
This involves that based on customer's data and the preference rates of the database the evaluation (implemented in the Java Modules) will be performed.
The evaluation result is transmitted in reverse order to the Javascript interpreter (of the browser) on the client side which presents the best investment forms in detail.
The entire tool includes more functionality like the described ones, e.g. storage of various consultant sessions or detailed description and help functions for the customer not familiar with investment terminology.

Some Remarks

Using CORBA and its communication infrastructure have rapidly reduced the time for the implementation phase, since the Internet communication was very easy to program. All programmers of the tool had no experiences in programming distributed systems. But the clearance of the CORBA-model was helpful so that the entire development time of the web-based money investment consultant tool was very moderate. The web-based money investment consultant was developed for a certain bank. The needed knowledge about the rates and the evaluation of the grades is very specific for a certain bank. But nevertheless these information can easily replaced by information of other banks. Beyond this the web-based money investment consultant can be extended so that a complete money investment contract can be made online. But then further aspects like security of the data transmission plays a very important rule and must be taken into consideration.


In this paper we have presented a web-based money investment consultant tool which enables customers to find the best investment strategies according to their personal preferences. We have described the development of such a tool.


Lewis,G., Barber,S., Siegel,E.: Programming with Java IDL. Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Object Management Group: CORBA Specification. Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Object Management Group: CORBAfacilities. Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Object Management Group: CORBAservices. Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Orfali,R., Harkey,D.: Client/Server Programming with JAVA and CORBA, 2nd Edition. Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Vogel, A., Duddy,K.: Java Programming with CORBA. Wiley & Sons, 1997.

Visigenic: VisiBroker for Java.

Wolfgang Golubski

Copyright 2000 ACM

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and or fee.
SAC 2000 March 19-21 Como, Italy
(c) 2000 ACM 1-58113-239-5/00/003>...>$5.00