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Amphora’s David Glasspool talks about its forthcoming new CTRM for concentrates – Alchemy

Amphora has been working a new CTRM solution for concentrates called Alchemy. ComTech asked Sales Director David Glasspool at Amphora about this initiative as it isn’t often an existing software vendor develops an entirely new CTRM for a specific use case…..

ComTech Advisory: What is Alchemy?

David Glasspool: Alchemy is a CTRM designed for Concentrates trading, logistics and invoicing. All Concentrates pricings and logistical activities can be captured with a few mouse clicks without the need for a mathematician to create complex formulas. These include entering a payable percentage based off price and content, splitting executions, creating blends, creating benchmarks and hedging.

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ComTech Advisory: Why did you decide to bring a concentrates solution to market?

David Glasspool: Amphora identified an opportunity in concentrates five years ago and decided to act. We built Alchemy specifically for concentrates with the UX being a key design focus throughout its development. What we saw where a lot of issues that required a more concentrates-focused solution to address and a lot of flexibility.

With Alchemy, you can capture multiple brands on the same contract that the user selects on delivery. They can enter different ways to value the copper content, for instance, at the contract level then select which one to use for the execution. It is very simple to enter all aspects of the trade and breakdown trade prices and P&L components.

Concentrates deals are traded mainly bi-laterally. As a result, terms in the contract can change frequently. Being able to capture and display all these nuances within a CTRM not specifically designed for concentrates is impossible. You may be able to capture the Concentrates position and run P&L in other CTRMs, however, to do so the user is forced to make assumptions and approximations outside of the system, resulting in a poor UX with major functional gaps. As a result of this missing functionality the deal capture and Logistic activities take a long time and prone to error.

Formulas are often used with ‘what if statements’ that can be pages and pages of lines of formulae.  Backing into the displayed price takes a strong cup of coffee and hours of time. There is also limited ability to capture optionality for terms within the contract. The user must choose at the time of entering the contract what they think will be the correct terms when taking delivery. This could be expected specifications or how to price certain payables or penalties.

Amphora felt that it could address these types of issues and developed Alchemy in order to do exactly that.

ComTech Advisory: How did you approach building it?

David Glasspool: Amphora teamed up with a leading Swiss concentrates trading house. The team put together consisted of subject matter experts from that trading house and a project manager, business analysts and developers from Amphora.

ComTech Advisory: Tell us something about its architecture, UI, and overall concepts?

David Glasspool: Alchemy is entirely web-based with its front end in React allowing the user to run multiple instances at the same time. You can accurately capture a concentrates contract with multiple weights and assays with a complete set of data in a logical walk-through manner with no need for approximations that use excel that then feeds the CTRM, for example. This makes our user experience the best in class. The data can be captured quickly, easily and is displayed in a clear, organised, accurate and complete manner. No data needs to be maintained outside the system. The user is never forced to remove any data to enter additional values, allowing for all historical data to be stored, with audit benefits. Users can enter multiple weights and assays then select which one to use for P&L or to use for additional costs with a simple click of the mouse.

The summary sections for contract/execution/parcel are perfect for the user to see the breakdown of the price and P&L. Creating a blend or splitting of an execution are achieved within the UI. With the user only having one source of data their decision making is more efficient. The user has all the data needed to decide in one screen which they can print if needed. The data is not scattered around various spreadsheets. Validations throughout prevent mistakes on entering the data, with clear guidance on what the error is. The UI is extremely intuitive for all functions.

We encourage companies in the Concentrates sector to request a demo, look and try it on for size. It won’t take them long to understand whether it can help them or not and take a view of Alchemy is a major improvement versus what they are currently using.

ComTech Advisory: Do you already have any customers for the product?

David Glasspool: Yes, and we are already approaching 50 users on Alchemy. We have already received requests from multiple trading houses this year for a demonstration as well which is highly encouraging.

ComTech Advisory: When will it be officially released?

David Glasspool: Our first client is going live Jan-23 and we will be going to market with Alchemy at that time.

David Glasspool, Head of Sales & Marketing, AmphoraAbout David Glasspool, Head of Sales & Marketing, Amphora

David started his career in trading operations in Enron 20 years ago and then moved on to be a natural gas trader for BP. Prior to sales, David spent over 7 years as a Senior Business Analyst for Amphora. This involved successful demos and implementations for new clients across multiple commodities including Oil, LNG, Biofuels, Concentrates.

David’s solid background in commodity trading is coupled with experience both in trading and project implementation, allowing David to have a clear and in-depth understanding of what is achievable and how.

At Amphora, David is responsible for driving revenue across all the company’s markets and regions.

David holds an MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial University.