By Rob Daly

Firms Reap Initial Benefits From Standard Messaging

Open-sourced platforms are streamlining the life of sales and trading desks, according to buy- and sell-side panelists at Symphony Innovate 2017 conference that was held in lower Manhattan.

The adoption of the Symphony messaging and collaboration platform has simplified and improved the efficiency of front offices, according to Andrew Freyre-Sanders, managing director at Haitong International Securities Company.

“You have sales guys who did their end-of-the-week wrap email where they would say they spoke to these four clients about these five stocks and had four questions for the analysts,” he explained. “By the time you finish reading the email threads, they could be 100 messages long.”

By hashtagging Symphony messages and using its chatroom functionality, users can filter content that does not concern them, added Matthew Howell, global head of derivative and multi-asset trading at T. Rowe Price.

However, Howell noted his concern regarding users developing hashtag lexicon of their own.

“We do not want our users coalescing around different hashtags,” he said.

For J.P. Morgan’s 20,000 Symphony users, hashtagging was a top-down decision, according to fellow panelist William Quan, executive director, CIB – Markets Execution at J.P. Morgan.

“Getting everyone on a single platform sounds like a very simple thing, but it is a very powerful thing,” added Morgan Downey, CEO of news and data provider Money.Net.

Freyre-Sanders used the increased communication and collaboration within his organization to change its “survival of the fittest” mentality to one where the various portions of the firm are responding to clients quicker and more productively.

For Nomura, the use of the open-sourced platform quickly spread throughout the organization to where operations have become as heavy as a user as the firm’s front office, said Henson Orser, global head of senior relationship management at Nomura.

All of the panelists agreed that they all saw the immediate benefits occurring internally but can see only greater opportunities as more firms adopt the platform and leverage the network effect.

Oser said he would not be surprised if the operations organizations would be the early adopters in other organizations as direct ops-to-ops communication would eventually replace the inefficient reply-all emails.

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