Reuters launches IM for financial services industry

Financial news and technology company Reuters Group has launched a high security instant messaging (IM) product for the financial services industry.

Dubbed by Reuters' chief executive Tom Glocer as the "intelligent dialtone", the service includes security-oriented features such as message logging, auditing and encryption, Reuters said. The company announced its plans in June and has been running trials at about 30 financial institutions.

Incorporated in the Reuters Messaging software, which Reuters and Microsoft developed, is monitoring technology from FaceTime Communications.

The product meets the financial industry's security and regulatory compliance requirements, including storing and auditing of all messages.

"In the financial services market, any communication is likely to be about financial transactions and you have to log and audit all communications about those. You can't do that with standard instant messaging. Also, security is a big issue and other software isn't secure enough for talking about financial deals," Reuters spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said.

FaceTime's IM Auditor logs and audits all messages from Reuters Messaging and any other IM systems being used within the company, she said. All records have to be kept and made available to any regulators who ask for them.

IM Auditor also allows a company to control which members of staff can send messages outside of the organisation, Allsopp said.

Reuters recently commissioned Gartner to research corporate end users' demand for IM technology within their own organisation. Gartner canvassed some 28 financial institutions, and while most had no formal strategy for business and consumer collaboration in place, most said they would allocate budget for collaborative solutions over the next few years, according to Diccon Close, a senior company official at Reuters Australia.

About 1100 companies in 85 countries have signed up for Reuters Messaging. Current enterprise take up worldwide includes some 25,000 users.

Reuters expects adoption in Australia to increase by 30 per cent each week. Such growth will translate from 4000 end users of Reuters technology products to 12,000 to 13,000 professional financial services employees -- mainly dealers in equities and fixed income assets -- over the next few years.

In Australia, early adopters include the Australian Stock Exchange, Citigroup Australia, Deutsche Bank Australia, Treasury Corporation of Australia and Vangoul Investments Online, said Close.

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