Fixed Income Leaders Summit US: Commentary and Thoughts

Anthony Tassone

June 25, 2019

I was pleased to attend the Fixed Income Leaders Summit event in Philadelphia last week, where many of the prevailing themes underscored just how relevant GK technology has become to fixed income trading.

Smart technology, automation, data management and workflow solutions were all highlighted as immediate and pressing concerns across sell and buy side constituencies. 

Participating on a panel discussing automation, Jim Switzer, Head of Credit Trading at AllianceBernstein, discussed how his desk is comprised of “20 people and 40 eyeballs” that handle four million messages per day. Their proprietary chat bot, Abbie, is instrumental to identifying the myriad trading opportunities to be found among the large amounts of incoming data, and their ALFA market surveillance tool is relied upon to source available liquidity.    

Jim also acknowledged that new technology adoption is dependent upon education throughout the firm and a willingness to try something different – a hurdle we encounter regularly in our sales efforts at GK, but validation nonetheless that AI and automation solutions are both necessary and capable. 

Lynn Martin, President and COO of ICE Data Services, said the market is very thirsty for alternative data sets that could range from the more traditional, such as credit card receipt data, to the more progressive, such as satellite images of parking lots or crops. As GK clients know, our technology is a powerful way to identify previously untapped sentiment and signals from unstructured audio data. The potential alternative data sets that can be mined through a natural language processing solution like GK’s is something all trading desks should be considering.

Lastly, it was a privilege to hear David Patraeus, former CIA director and U.S. Army General, give his thoughts on the current geopolitical climate and its effects on economic markets. He stated that he believes “data is the new oil,” an intriguing assessment to many. He also shared that he spends his nights thinking about cyber warfare, including the fact that China and Russia have been in the U.S. electricity grid doing reconnaissance and leaving little trace of their actions. In addition to being an impressive human being, General Petraeus left us all with considerable global insights to consider moving forward.     

My thanks to the conference organizers for a compelling event this year.