Bloomberg improves instant messaging compliance as banks consider chat room bans

Bloomberg has responded to a clampdown on trader chat rooms by improving tools that allow compliance staff to monitor instant messages.

The financial data provider, which claims to support over 15 million messages between traders every day, has witnessed a number of banking clients such as Barclays, JPMorgan and Citi banning the use of chat rooms in recent months, impacting use of its own systems.

Regulators have focused on the use of electronic messages by traders to collude on rate rigging during the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) scandal, as well as ongoing investigations into foreign exchange markets, creating pressure on banks to improve their ability to monitor communications.

“Recently, there has been discussion around the use of chat rooms, and our clients have expressed interest in more precise and reliable communication-related compliance tools,” the company said in a blog post.

“While market participants rely on the security, stability and consistency of the Instant Bloomberg chat [...] compliance officers want a better way to manage these communications.”

In order to address concerns, Bloomberg has brought together existing functionality within its software to offer compliance staff a single screen view of discussions via Bloomberg Instant, enabling real-time monitoring across the whole organisation and the ability to restrict access or disable accounts.

The Bloomberg Compliance Center tools also offers search functions, and allows administrators to set alerts for designated keywords. Compliance staff can access the features by pressing CMPC on Bloomberg terminals.

"In addition, we’re developing stronger reporting capabilities and permissioning tools that enable authorised firm administrators to better manage multi-party chat room participation," the company said.

Bloomberg’s messaging system has come under fire in the past following reports that its own journalists had used Bloomberg terminal to access confidential information about subscribers.

The company has also had to deal with increased competition from other messaging providers, with its own systems deemed "costly". For example, large banks including Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley plan to implement Markit’s Collaboration Services system at ‘enterprise level’ following its launch, the company stated.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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