Forefront Communications

Financial Times: Platforms Vie To Become The Connective Tissue Of Wall Street

Alexandra Hamer

Alexandra Hamer

In recent years trading has become highly automated, relying on huge amounts of data coursing down the fibre-optic wires that link fund managers to banks and exchanges. Even the most hidebound corners of capital markets, such as fixed income, have lurched into the modern age as bond traders have dropped the phone for the keyboard to buy and sell. This means data must move cleanly and seamlessly between different systems to avoid lags and errors.

Hence the rising interest in special platforms that can combine systems across trading, portfolio management and investment banking, reducing the risk of glitches by allowing data based on one standard to be used across a range of applications. Helping the banks do that are providers such as OpenFin, Glue42 and ChartIQ, each hoping to become the connective tissue of Wall Street.

“Across all of the banks there is lots of legacy software,” said Tosha Ellison, a director of FINOS, an industry association. “A lot of it is still core to day-to-day processes and still works — it’s about being able to hook those systems together.”

Goldman Sachs is emblematic of the shift. The bank is trying to direct more clients through its “digital storefront” called Marquee, which allows them to trade securities and churn through investment research. In the process it has shifted the system on to OpenFin.

Goldman is also a big user of Symphony, an instant messaging tool that operates on the OpenFin platform. As messaging became the preferred method for traders to chat and to set up deals, Goldman led a consortium to purchase and expand Symphony in 2014, and the application is now available on OpenFin.

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