Symphony Bots Take on RFQ Automation

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Secure messaging and collaboration platform provider Symphony looks to automate the request for quote process for over-the-counter derivatives with its Sparc offering.

The purpose-built product will be one of the first offerings to be released by Symphony’s new Market Solutions organization, both of which the vendor announced during its Symphony Innovate Asia user conference in Singapore.

“It is introducing a new concept into that workflow where you can do it over existing chat rooms, but we are introducing a structure,” said Goutam Nadella, executive vice president, client services at Symphony, during a recent webinar. “There is a structure in how you negotiate the RFQs, and that structure can exist in a chat room.”

Sparc’s bots use the same security architecture as any platform user, which prevents a third party from intercepting and decrypting them.

“To decrypt them, you have to be part of the stream, whether it be in the chat room or a one-on-one conversation with the chatbot to access their content,” he added.

The offering is a pre-trade negotiation communication tool and not an execution tool, stressed Chris Rodriquez, global head of workflow at Symphony. “We are not a regulated entity or trading platform, but we are trying to help firms that are communicating on phones or chatting in disparate systems.

Symphony is not the first organization to use the open-sourced platform to automate the RFQ process.

Hong Kong-based BFAM Partners built a similar automation infrastructure for derivatives price discovery, according to Chris Rodriquez, global head of workflow at Symphony.

The asset manager uses Symphony’s API to structure and publish RFQs to counterparties who can quote back in the particular market. BFAM can select to which sell-side firms it reveals its markets.

“Those market makers and dealers come back with information that no one else can see other than BFAM,” said Rodriguez. “The nice thing is that some of the automation which is occurring happens behind the scenes. It passes information between the order management system or the OMS and these RFQs.”