Reuters has teamed up with Microsoft and AOL to provide a financial instant messaging service that will allow market traders to change the way they communicate.
Traders have not been able to use IM systems such as MSN or AIM because of compliance problems with their auditability amid post-Enron paranoia that price-sensitive information could be passed on without any means of monitoring what is written.
Reuters already has a messenger system in place – Reuters Messaging – that allows traders to speak to each other in real time but traders cannot use it to communicate with the outside world.
But this will now be integrated with MSN and AIM to allow users to talk to business contacts outside the City as well as friends and family on the normal MSN and AIM systems. The integrated offering will generate an audit trail for compliance departments.
Tom Glocer, Reuters chief executive, said there were 300,000 registered users of Reuters Messaging of which 70,000 were active users. Another 1,000 active users were added every week, he said.
It’s in keeping with the general Reuters paradigm which is to be open, to be able to integrate he said.
It’s important that Reuters has struck deals with both AOL and Microsoft. AIM is the most popular instant messaging system in the US, but Microsoft’s is more popular in the rest of the world. Further integration seems likely following October’s announcement that Microsoft and Yahoo! were working to make their respective IM networks would become interoperable by mid-2006.
Reuters confirmed it is in talks with Yahoo, Google and Skype, and would have agreements in place with them hopefully in the next few months or a year.