Africa’s front-office trading screens have traditionally been the battle ground for a long and protracted ground war tirelessly waged bytwo of the old market stalwarts – Bloomberg and Reuters. However, this deadlock looks like it could be broken in the near future by a new breed of front office trading and information systems.
New tech-focused and fast-moving start-ups are emerging that focus on delivering intuitive front-ends at lower costs. Not having to cater to older legacy technologies and entrenched hardware or protocol installations at clients sites gives the new entrants to the market the ability to start from scratch with the best-of-breed technical solutions.
Two notable start-ups standing out in this space are Money.Net and Symphony. Money.Net is the brainchild of ex-Bloomberg employee Morgan Downey. Its Morgan’s vision to create an intuitive platform with all the functionality of a Bloomberg terminal at a fraction of the cost of the iconic Wall-Street staple. Whilst Symphony arose from a consortium of the world’s leading financial institutions.
Both platforms embrace new technologies with cloud-computing, compliance and security being strong themes in their marketing.
How does this benefit Africa? The immediate benefit is cost. These systems can be significantly cheaper to a cost sensitive continent that earns in local currency but pays top Dollar or Euro costs. The systems are cloud based and quick to roll out with low technical overheads. African is starting to solve its Internet bandwidth issues and local Amazon and Microsoft data centres are planned for the continent in the not too distant future.
What’s holding these systems back? Data. Namely live, contributed data from multiple sources both on the cotenant and abroad. The challenge for these new start-ups will be to forge the relationships that the likes of Bloomberg and Reuters have spent over 20 years fostering. In order to ensure their customers on the continent get the live data they need to add the value their fledging platforms require to convince banks and asset managers to jump ship.
It’s not just price and the promise of new technologies that will convince banks and asset managers in Africa to kick their beloved Bloomberg and Eikons to the curb. Live and reliable data, from IDB’s, fund managers, banks, asset managers and exchange will be critical in shaking up this landscape.