Markit masses support for open messaging service
Financial information services company Markit is aiming to create the largest financial markets messaging community and remove barriers to cross-market communication through its open messaging initiative and supporting technology, Markit Collaboration Services.
The much-rumoured initiative is being supported by several major investment banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and inter-dealer broker GFI Group.
Also forming part of the first wave of supporters is Thomson Reuters, which is a founding partner of the initiative and will federate its instant messaging tool, Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger, with the network, allowing its 190,000 participants from over 170 countries to communicate across the new network.
“Our aim is to help financial market participants become more efficient in the way they communicate and share information. By offering them an interoperable collaboration system, we will change how financial markets operate. Having Thomson Reuters and many of the industry’s major players as part of the network underlines the value of our proposition,” said Lance Uggla, chief executive of Markit.
“The context is the industry working together to create the largest community today, but the ambition doesn’t stop there – we want to connect the whole industry,” said Peter Moss, head of Financial at Thomson Reuters. “There has been a significant shift in the way that people communicate across the markets, heavily influenced by the sort of social media that we are familiar with at home. Picking up the phone is no longer the most convenient way to communicate with your network in the market, particularly when messaging can tell whether a person is present on the network.”
Moss said that while Markit was leading the development, “it is very much a joint effort across the industry to make it happen”.
Thomson Reuters has been running its own open messaging network for more than a decade – and has long been embroiled in a battle for messaging supremacy with rival information vendor Bloomberg – while Markit has also been pursuing similar projects.
“What we are trying to do this time is work together, and we expect other vendors to join later,” said Moss. “Not everyone will join on day one, but we are pretty confident that we have got a significant amount of momentum behind us. Our belief is that it makes sense for everyone to join, it is just a question of time. The social media revolution is one thing, and secondly technology is moving to a standard.”
Markit Collaboration Services is based on the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol – originally known as Jabber – that underpins most of the common instant messaging services such as Microsoft’s Lync.
“Most of the participants we have talked to have already deployed XMPP messaging to their own networks and to their customer base, which helps,” said Moss. He said that there are a number of ways of participating: Thomson Reuters’ Eikon users will automatically have the functionality, and there is also the option of taking a free Eikon Messenger application. Most firms will already have messaging systems that can connect through an XMPP gateway, he said.
Within the messaging network, users will be able to create closed user and special interest groups, just as they can in existing environments. “Underpinning it all is a directory so that you can look up names, but you can set up a chatroom on the fly, invite a community of people into and moderate it,” Moss said. “We already do that within the Thomson Reuters community, on many different market sectors.”
Also supporting the initiative is trading systems firm Fidessa, which has its own global networks, connecting some 3,500 buy-side institutions with 750 brokers, and handling 400 million messages a month. Steve Grob, director of group strategy at Fidessa, said: “The use of intelligent messaging within trading applications is a definite direction of travel for the industry. Markit’s initiative means that we can work with those of our customers that are also on Markit’s new network to build intelligent workflow messaging across our buy and sellside trading community.”