Big banks trial instant messaging service

Some of the world's largest investment banks are to trial a new data service that uses instant messaging software to help traders...

Some of the world's largest investment banks are to trial a new data service that uses instant messaging software to help traders track market developments.

The news service application from BrokerTalk, a London-based start-up company, provides updates on price changes in markets including foreign exchange and derivatives.

BrokerTalk, which runs over the internet, is being touted as an alternative to news feeds from companies such as Reuters. It also includes Parlano instant messaging software to allow brokers and traders in the same firm to communicate more efficiently.

Banks that have signed up to use the service include Citigroup, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse First Boston and Barclays Capital.

Instant messaging has been widely adopted in the financial services industry, where speed of communication and having up-to-date information is crucial.

In the US however, concerns have been raised that firms using instant messaging technology may struggle to store and archive the messages to comply with corporate governance regulations.

The use of instant messaging is also likely to require extra investment in systems to monitor messages.

A survey of organisations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa published in April found more than a third of companies monitor instant messaging communications.

The majority of organisations had put in place explicit staff guidelines for both e-mail and instant messaging use, the survey commissioned by Hitachi Data Systems found.

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