As the landscape of communication continues to evolve in our increasingly digital world, the financial services industry is feeling the pinch of regulatory scrutiny. In recent years, financial firms have faced nearly $2 billion in penalties from the SEC and CFTC due to unregulated “off-channel” messaging. This surge in “off-channel” communication, including usage of platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, LINE, and mobile calls, is largely fueled by the rise of hybrid work. Yet, regulators maintain that all business communications must be monitored, auditable, and occur only within official channels. In the words of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, “As technology changes, it’s even more important that registrants appropriately conduct their communications about business matters within only official channels. And they must maintain and preserve those communications.”
Maximizing Signal Velocity and Transforming Markets Voice Communications
On June 1, 2021, I joined Symphony as Chief Product Officer – the same day Brad Levy became our CEO. That same month, we announced the acquisition of Cloud9: a cloud-native, API-first approach to trader voice. It was a pivotal month in an exciting and eventful year for Symphony, and myself. One year later, we have made remarkable strides to convert Symphony’s potential into transformational value for our customers – and Cloud9, its people and its product, have played an integral role in our progress.
I’m always thinking of ways to articulate the intended value our products deliver to our customers. I recently spoke about the concept of “signal velocity” – which, bear with me – is a physics concept that measures the speed at which a wave carries information. At Symphony, we use this concept as a proxy for how we help our customers accelerate the speed at which their messages (data, ideas, opportunities) get to their best-possible recipient. In this time of macro market uncertainty and increasing technological complexity, signal velocity is more important than ever.
My team’s job is to create products that maximize signal velocity, usually in one or more of the following three ways:
- Decreasing the distance between the origin and destination of the signal by connecting historically disparate channels and people. A great example of this is our Federation offering which enables Symphony users to message their customers who use WhatsApp, WeChat, or standard texting while meeting their compliance requirements.
- Removing obstacles in the signal’s path, like workflow friction or other unnecessary steps. A key focus of ours here is our work with Desktop Interoperability and the open source FDC3 standard to enable one-click connectivity across a user’s productivity ecosystem.
- Harmonizing the signal by minimizing context switching and connecting data and workflow. Leveraging our Symphony 2.0 desktop application, our users can perform numerous tasks while staying organized in these hyper volatile times.
When it comes to maximizing signal velocity, our acquisition of Cloud9 is potentially the best example of the progress we’ve made in the past year. Cloud9 introduced unparalleled user flexibility and location flexibility through its API-first, cloud-native approach to trader voice. The way Cloud9 brought those two capabilities to market – at a time when those were more important than ever – has transformed the way users communicate, both within their teams and with their counterparties.
Now, our product team is leveraging those transformative capabilities to develop an integrated product offering. Previously, trader voice and messaging represented two completely separate tech stacks and user experiences. Through Symphony’s integration with Cloud9, we will introduce capabilities that allow users to seamlessly transition between chat and voice, without switching applications or platforms. If you’re messaging with your team or customer in a room on Symphony, you will be able to immediately open up a direct voice channel with one click – and deliver your signal to your team, instantly.
In the financial markets, unlocking high-value information and getting the right message to the right people at the right time is more crucial than ever. At Symphony, we believe that maximizing signal velocity is the key to cutting through the fog in today’s world and driving transformational value in global markets. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished since June of 2021, and look forward to building on that progress with the product team moving forward,
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Symphony Innovate brings together industry leaders to share insights, showcase live demos of products and integrations, and provide case studies on how technological advancements have transformed the community. Join Symphony along with Cloud9, StreetLinx and Amenity Analytics as we discuss the future of the industry on 23 May in London.