Algomi, a network company providing information-matching solutions for the optimisation of fixed income liquidity, is to acquire and distribute the ALFA product created and developed by AllianceBernstein (AB).
ALFA (Automated Liquidity Filtering & Analytics) was developed as an in-house liquidity tool by AB.
It provides cross-market information on liquidity and trade intent in order to give the buy-side a real-time view of the entire bond market including government bonds, investment grade, high yield, emerging market, municipal debt, and structured credit.
AB selected Algomi in a competitive search process to acquire and become the sole marketer of the product, now called Algomi ALFA. It will be sold to fund managers across the buy-side, allowing them to consume data from electronic venues, messaging platforms and direct dealer inventory feeds. Algomi’s focus on data technology solutions remains unchanged and was a key factor in AB’s selection process.
To protect individual client data integrity and ownership, ALFA clients will procure and own their own hardware via an approved cloud provider and Algomi will then install and deploy the ALFA software thereby maintaining Algomi’s role as a pure software vendor. As with all Algomi solutions, clients own their data and Algomi has no access to the data.
Algomi has acquired the intellectual property and technology behind ALFA as well as the brand name. AllianceBernstein is also taking an undisclosed minority stake in the company and a seat on the Algomi board of directors.
Algomi ALFA will be hosted on an approved cloud with secure and unique instances for each customer. This is consistent with the delivery approach of Algomi’s sell-side big-data information processing engine, known as Synchronicity, which allows them to develop a data relationship with clients via API or GUI based on bank preference.
Stu Taylor (pictured), Algomi CEO, says: “The buy-side community has to navigate an increasing variety of liquidity channels yet preserve their trading and data integrity. They must remain instantly and continuously aware of relevant trading opportunities in the market to achieve Best Execution. Uniquely, Algomi ALFA acts as a conduit for all market participants including electronic platforms, data providers, sell-side firms and the buy-side in a way that enriches the interaction between these participants. Market timing is everything.”
Jim Switzer, head of credit trading at AllianceBernstein, says: “The idea to take ALFA to market was fostered by an internal, firm-wide initiative we launched several years ago to spur technological innovation called AB Labs. Our fixed income team recognised early that the industry landscape was changing and that those who could effectively address issues such as lack of liquidity, price transparency, and efficiency, would have a competitive advantage. By leveraging the resources across the firm, we were able to create a technology that enables investors to play a more active role in generating liquidity in the marketplace – making them ‘price makers’ rather than simply ‘price takers’. We are confident that Algomi will take ALFA to even higher echelons and bring the entire buy-side together on a world class platform.”
Rich Colucci, head of Americas at Algomi, says: “The initial buy-side excitement we have received across the US, Europe and Asia has been overwhelming and we are now entering contract negotiations with a number of firms. In addition to execution traders, portfolio managers and quants, we have had strong interest from compliance professionals, which further emphasises the power of having comprehensive and time-stamped information at your fingertips. This enables efficiency and scale and is conducive to cost savings and greater alpha generation. We’re excited to partner with AllianceBernstein to take this product out to the wider market.”
Alex Sedgwick, head of fixed income market structure & electronic trading at T Rowe Price, says: “A perfect storm of challenges is driving the industry towards new technology in fixed income markets. A low rate environment, data fragmentation and increased regulatory focus are all leading to greater demand for more comprehensive and aggregated pre-trade information across markets. Algomi ALFA will give our fixed income traders and portfolio managers a consolidated view of corporate bond market activity, enabling them to spot relative value opportunities, and further support our efforts to deliver best execution to clients. We look forward to integrating Algomi ALFA in the near future.”
Usman Khan, CTO of Algomi, says: “Algomi ALFA is integrated with Algomi’s global enterprise secure infrastructure-as-code technology stack, to deliver value added real-time content to all Honeycomb participants. This SAAS (Software as a Service) based platform will utilise the latest application distribution initiatives from OpenFin, through which future Algomi apps will be delivered. All Honeycomb Sell-Side firms on the existing Algomi technology stack will be automatically connected to Algomi ALFA, enriching their existing bilateral relationships. We look forward to helping all our clients benefit from this initiative.”
John Orrock, senior trader and trade operations lead of BlueBay Asset Management, says: “The way in which fixed income markets operate is changing as the buy-side continues to take a more active role in providing liquidity. What is interesting about Algomi ALFA is its ability to aggregate price information across the breadth of the market, including new sources of liquidity drawn from message platforms, e-venues and bank inventories. Such features can increase the likelihood of a successful trade and we think this has the potential to be a ‘game changer’ for price discovery in bond markets.”
Andrew Hofer, head of taxable fixed income at Brown Brothers Harriman, says: “What attracts us to Algomi ALFA is not just an aggregated view of liquidity on one screen, but its ability to deliver relevant information about activity and interest in the specific ideas we are targeting. Bringing together data from across the market and complementing this with smart analytics will greatly improve the ability for market participants to transact efficiently and at the best price.”
Algomi was advised by Sandler O’Neill & Partners and JAG Shaw Baker on this transaction.