Symphony Innovate 2019: “Trust Propels Progress”

Sarah Tegel

October 29, 2019

GreenKey was pleased to be a platinum sponsor at Symphony Innovate 2019, held Oct. 3 in New York, where Symphony welcomed 600 attendees, including many of its clients and partners, to showcase the latest innovations built for its communications platform. 


Symphony founder and CEO, David Gurlé, kicked off the event with a keynote presentation describing Symphony’s evolution from simply a communications solution to what’s rapidly becoming a business-to-business marketplace. Over its five-year history, he explained, Symphony has adapted to its customers facing market pressures such as business complexities, inefficiencies, cost pressures and regulatory requirements to provide an automation platform aimed at rewiring the global markets infrastructure. In that process, Symphony has grown to a community of more than 450,000 users across 400 companies. Most tellingly, there are now more than 1,300 bots and applications in production designed to integrate with the Symphony platform. Mr. Gurlé welcomed many of these collaborators, partners and clients to the conference, including GK, who presented their innovations and ideas to the Symphony community in attendance. 

GK’s presentation by Chief Data Scientist, Tejas Shastry, was a demonstration entitled “Real-Time Data Insights Through Voice and Natural Language Processing” highlighting the use of GK’s NLP within Symphony’s framework. With live voice prompts, he showed the standing room-only crowd the powerful impact that industry-specific NLP automation can bring to trading desk workflows. Most significantly, GK’s technology is the first designed to be trained and optimized not by developers, but by traders themselves. 

Another successful discussion was that of J.P Morgan’s David Hudson, who in conversation with David Gurlé described his mindset regarding the bank’s growth and goals in the coming years. Mr. Hudson said that after ten years post-financial crisis spent focusing on considerations such as new regulatory burdens and market structure complexities, he is now most concerned with meeting the changing needs of his individual clients across the bank’s landscape. He puts these needs into four categories: choice, security, ease of doing business and personalization, all of which need to function and develop within a complicated legacy system that was not “built digital.” Many of the solutions required will come from partnering with smaller fintech companies that have ready-made technology for these needs, and Mr. Hudson stressed the cooperation between the bank and these partners should be collaborative. He also believes that artificial intelligence is here to stay and will be a key component in data usage and optimization going forward.

J.P. Morgan and Symphony’s Goutam Nadella also presented a demonstration of Sparc, a messaging platform powered by Symphony technology and developed for JPM sales teams to interact directly with buy side customers. Within dedicated chat rooms, buy side customers can place RFQs to chosen dealers, and at the same time power internal JPM bots and applications to respond quickly and accurately to customer requests. Indeed, a common theme at Innovate was that platforms like Sparc, where humans and machines interact together at the same time, are becoming more common and necessary to modern trading and banking practices.


Capitalizing on the rapid popularity of bots, Barclays’ Mehru Anand presented the firm’s progressive bot ecosystem that has developed since deploying Symphony across the bank. Ms. Anand and Gautam Parmar showed a demo of Eve, a proprietary application developed to fast-track bot development across the whole of Barclays. The bot framework makes it easy for Barclays’ developers to create bots that talk to the rest of Barclays in-house services through direct communication between relevant parties. 


Underpinning rapid bot development is of course the concept of open source technology, highlighted on a panel featuring Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS) Executive Director Gabriele Columbro and including Kim Prado of RBC. The panelists confirmed that automation and efficiency initiatives will only deploy more rapidly across financial services as firms embrace and commit to open source guidelines. 


Innovate also featured compelling presentations from firms including FlexTrade, Goldman Sachs, UBS and ChartIQ, all highlighting the power of structured communications across and between global financial firms.


GK was proud to participate in Innovate 2019 and congratulates Symphony on a successful event!