Symphony Innovate London - what did we learn?

First things first, the novelty of getting back to physical events again after so long... it was great to see so many colleagues and peers again in person! There was a real buzz around the event and we were treated to a stellar line-up of speakers and inspiring content. In this blog, I'll share my thoughts on the most impactful headlines to come from the event.


The era of interoperability

Symphony continues to deepen investment in its partnerships with key technology vendors. It launched its new Embedded Collaboration Platform (ECP) which enables seamless integration into the fintech ecosystem. This included demonstrating Microsoft Teams and smartTrade Technologies integration as well as their support for the FDC3 protocol, showing data across multiple platforms on the same desktop.  The demo showcased FX liquidity pricing via Tradefeedr, and data and trading analytics via Cosaic's ChartIQ and Finsemble. I was particularly impressed with the metadata shared via FDC3 that allowed contextual granularity when charts were shared into ChartIQ.

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Lastly, we got to see the fruits of Symphony's acquisition last year of Cloud9 with a demo of their cloud-based voice trading platform with partner Sphere. This demo looked fantastic with a combination of voice, bots and API providing a neat solution for fragmented liquidity aggregation.


Hybrid work is here to stay

"The pandemic has helped accelerate the trend toward hybrid working, we're investing in tools to help us communicate and collaborate more efficiently."

Robinson Rouchie, Chief of Staff to the CIO, BNP Asset Management


It's clear to everyone in our industry that the adjustments we have had to make in the last couple of years are now becoming established new work habits. It's never been more important to digitise our businesses wherever possible, providing effective communication and collaboration tools so our workforce can continue to be productive wherever they choose to work. That was the clear message from the assembled panel of buy-side organisations including, Robinson Rouchie from BNP Asset Management.


Increased volatility is driving the need to digitise

According to Daniel Leon from HSBC Asset Management, if any part of your business contains manual processes and workflows, you leave yourself open to nasty surprises as the markets fluctuate, putting you in a defensive position and playing catch up to more agile competitors.

"We need to take a 360-degree approach, looking at every aspect of how we operate and eliminating manual practices where possible."

Daniel Leon, Global Head of Trading, HSBC Asset Management


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Workflow and communication are the next areas for innovation

"It's no longer about buy versus build...for me its the best of both and embracing the ecosystem around it ensuring it's efficient."

Andrew Freyre-Sanders, Head of Trading and Analytics, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority


There's a gulf still, according to Andrew, between the automation investment happening on the trading desk over the last few years compared to the areas of workflow and communication. Many desks have the ability to easily compile and view prices but are still struggling to easily share this data across the desk and with clients in an efficient manner. There's still an overreliance on sharing data through things like email or FTP which is grossly inefficient. This has to change in the bid to ensure teams are more productive and able to scale to more clients and trades in any given period.

I came away from Symphony Innovate buoyed by the level of innovation on show from Symphony and its partners but also the positivity and confidence in the year ahead in terms of the opportunities on the back of the uncertainty we've seen in the last couple of years. 

I'm also pleased to see ipushpull being used across Symphony with a variety of market participants. From sales sharing axes, to traders getting FIX confirmations in chat through to corporate actions and reference data being made available via bots. 

I'm already looking forward to the next event in October where we'll have some big announcements!

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