Financial firms embrace secureinstant messaging service

A number of leading financial firms have announced that they are adopting a cross-industry secure instant messaging service that...

A number of leading financial firms have announced that they are adopting a cross-industry secure instant messaging service that will allow instant communication and share information between colleagues and clients.

More than 30,000 employees and clients of institutions that include Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, along with 2,000 institutional money management firms, will use Communicator's Communicator Hub IM service.

Communicator began working with the financial services industry in mid-2000 for its first industry-wide deployment of the Hub IM service, according to Communicator Hub IM product manager Gary Reifman.

The IM service needed to meet stringent regulatory requirements. Part of these requirements demanded archiving of communications, which the Hub IM service enables.

Reifman said the IM service offers identity management, content aggregation and customer support, as well as end-to-end 128 bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.

Vic Simone, general manager of e-commerce at Goldman Sachs, said that his company has been using the system in beta form for several months and, so far, has found it to be a useful tool, allowing users to communicate crucial information in real time.

Because this particular community is made up of competitors who need to work closely together, one of the most important features of the system is its directory structure, which ensures each company's privacy.

"We control the address book, and that's important because it's our collective client base," Simone said.

Goldman Sachs is only employing Communicator Hub IM as a software application at the moment, but has plans to deploy the browser version soon, allowing users more mobility and flexibility.

After tackling the complex requirements of building a hub IM system for the financial community, Communicator feels that it is ready to target industries such as pharmaceutical companies, the chemical industry, and defence and government sectors.

While the tailor-made system used by the financial institutions was designed and priced as part of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal, the company said that its regular Communicator Hub IM service costs $50 (£35) per user, a year.

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