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Talking Intelligent Trading with Andrew Delaney: Don’t Kill the Messenger

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Away from the surreality of the supposed real world of British politics, the past week has seen a resumption of action in the trader messaging space.

Thomson Reuters announced it has partnered with CME Group to combine their respective messaging networks, creating a critical mass in the derivatives markets. Earlier, Thomson Reuters said it was pushing its messaging platform in the energy market, where a lot of the action apparently takes place over Yahoo Messaging.

Could all this action represent a re-opening of hostilities in trader messaging, a segment that many of us believed had been sorted by the emergence of the industry-backed Symphony initiative?

It seems that Thomson Reuters and others don’t subscribe to that latter thought. Symphony was the industry’s response to the need to create a viable, agnostic alternative to the near-monopolistic Bloomberg Messaging platform in the wake of alleged abuses on that system by Bloomberg editorial staff. It has established a robust messaging platform that’s been adopted by the likes of Goldman Sachs. But some believe its ambitions go much further than that, fuelled by the healthy funding pot provided by its member owners.

At our own Intelligent Trading Summit in London back in February, Symphony outlined extensive plans to offer many services beyond messaging – data, analytics, news and so on – all accessible through its own delivery framework. The impression was of a comprehensive trader workstation offering. This may explain why Thomson Reuters now seems to be pushing its own messaging solution so heavily.

Elsewhere, the past several months has seen the piecemeal emergence of so-called collaboration tools from the various suppliers of voice systems to the financial markets marketplace. Several trader turret providers are in the process of adding messaging to their platforms; indeed, a friend in the voice systems space recently remarked how crowded the segment had become, with the likes of BT, IPC/Etrali, IFS/ITECH/Telstra, Cloud9, IP Trader/Cisco, Green Key Tech, SpeakerBus and others all looking to add to their trader collaboration capabilities.

The Bloomberg debacle of a couple of years ago – wherein Bloomberg News reporters were allegedly snooping on Bloomberg Messaging users – sparked industry demand for an alternative messaging platform. With Symphony now looking at more ambitious aims, the marketplace seems to be fragmenting. This may add a level of complexity that the trading community doesn’t necessarily want or need, as entrants old and new vie for critical messaging mass.

Time and cash-strapped trading technologists may not be thrilled by this development, but as they say: Don’t kill the messenger.

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