I have been following the Symphony story with interest and the recent news that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is looking to invest certainly got my attention. Is this the sound of the mighty Google taking its first lumbering steps into the world of
capital markets, or just another of the many investments that Google makes? More importantly, what does this do to help Symphony? Well cash is always nice, but the real challenge for Symphony is creating the tipping point where the mass market abandons Bloomberg
IM and moves to its product instead.
The key to this is the buy-side, as the sell-side is compelled to adopt whatever chat application their customers use. This isn’t so they can keep in touch or chat about last night’s game, but because this is where orders or sales enquiries can come from.
So it’s simple then, if the majority of buy-sides still use Bloomberg nothing much will change. Most likely is that brokers will be forced to run two chat environments which is hardly ideal. On the other hand, if Symphony can gain some regulatory advantage
over Bloomberg, or develop some killer messaging application that Bloomberg doesn’t have, then things may start to change very quickly.
One way for Symphony to achieve this is by engaging with other technology vendors that have their own buy- and sell-side communities. So, thanks to Google, they should be able to buy me a nice lunch...