Financial Times

Symphony unveils content tie­ups as it seeks to conduct affairs on Wall Street

by Ben McLannahan ­

September 16, 2015 | 2:48 pm
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Symphony has pledged to make itself Wall Street’s indispensable social network as the communications start­up backed by the world’s biggest investment banks announced deals
with a trio of content providers.

The challenger, charging $15 a month per user, is positioning itself as a cheaper, more convenient alternative to the Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters terminals that dominate trading
desks around the world.

It has built a network of 30,000 trial users among banks and asset managers since emerging in the wake of a snooping scandal at Bloomberg two years ago.

At an official launch event in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen district yesterday, the group announced tie­ups with McGraw Hill Financial and Dow Jones, the publishing companies, and
Selerity, which focuses on mining market­moving information from social media. McGraw Hill Financial will begin by supplying S&P Capital IQ, its financial information tool, and Dow
Jones will provide its entire live news feed of about 10,000 stories to the new platform.

David Gurle, Symphony’s chief executive, said the aim of the partnerships was to create “an indispensable communication and collaboration and workflow tool”.

Edward Roussel, chief innovation officer at News Corp’s Dow Jones unit, described Symphony as a “network of arteries that will eventually be driving the lifeblood of Wall Street”.

Jonathan Reeve, chief data officer at S&P Capital IQ, said his group would consider providing more content via Symphony’s desktop application, including from Platts, its energy
division, and its Standard & Poor’s credit­rating business.

Analysts said Symphony’s challenge was to build a broad enough community of users so that it becomes a vital part of setting up and confirming trades in financial markets. For now,
Bloomberg’s terminals ­ at $1,850 per month per user ­ hold that dominant position, and the company has seen off dozens of challengers.

The emergence of Symphony has been watched carefully by regulators, anxious that banks do not use the platform to skirt rules on data retention. Yesterday the New York State
Department of Financial Services called off its pursuit of the San Francisco­based group, saying it had reached an agreement with it to retain all customers’ communications for seven
years.

 

By: Ben McLannahan ­ 


by Ben McLannahan ­

September 16, 2015 | 2:48 pm
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