Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GFI Group, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Thomson Reuters connect instant messaging platforms using new network from Markit

London and New York, NY (October 7, 2013) – Markit, a leading, global financial information services company, today announced the launch of an open messaging network that will enable people in all parts of the global financial services industry to communicate and share information seamlessly.

To date, communication between market participants has been hampered by the lack of system interoperability. The new network removes barriers to industry communication by allowing messaging platforms, critical to price discovery and pre and post trade operations, to connect to each other.

Markit Collaboration Services allows users to see availability, send instant messages, use video and chat rooms, and exchange documents across disparate messaging platforms. Federating messaging platforms makes it cost effective for institutions to offer the benefits of a cross-industry collaboration network to employees throughout their enterprise. The federation service is powered by NextPlane, the market leader in cloud-based unified communications (UC) federation services for collaborative business communities.

The new network also provides the first open directory for the financial services industry, enabling people to find, communicate and collaborate with one another. The messaging and directory services can be embedded in third party applications, workflows and other networks, extending the functionality of trading, processing, research and other applications.

Thomson Reuters is a founding member of the network and will federate its instant messaging tool, Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger, with the network. Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger was built using open-based standards to offer a secure, federated messaging system that facilitates collaboration across the financial markets. It already connects to other messaging platforms such as AOL and Yahoo!. It has a community of over 200,000 financial professionals from more than 170 countries that will be able to communicate across the new network.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GFI Group, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have also joined the network and will use the federation and directory services at the enterprise level. These firms employ more than one million people worldwide, all of whom are eligible to use the new network. They will also invite their customers to join the network.

Lance Uggla, chief executive officer of Markit, said: “We’re excited to launch this new collaboration network which is the first of its kind. 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.”

David Craig, president of Financial & Risk at Thomson Reuters, said: “Thomson Reuters was an innovator in open messaging, launching one of the first instant messaging services specifically designed for financial markets 11 years ago. We are excited to work with Markit and the industry as a founding member of this new open messaging initiative which aims to break down the last barriers to cross-industry communication. This will significantly help the industry and will enable our customers to connect to their clients and counterparties regardless of the messaging tools they are using.”

Perry Vais, cohead of quantitative strategy at BlueMountain Capital Management, said: “We envision using the new network to connect easily with trading desks, prime brokers, research departments and others in the market. With a single point of access to multiple messaging systems, the network helps us work with anyone and minimises the technology required.”

Zar Amrolia, cohead of Fixed Income & Currencies at Deutsche Bank, said: “Deutsche Bank is at the forefront of emerging technologies that drive market efficiencies. This new network allows us to connect disparate systems and improve the quality of communication and therefore service we provide to clients. We welcome any initiative that improves access and communication across markets and with our clients. The service will refine our back office technology footprint, whilst bringing efficiencies to our client facing franchise across the bank.”

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.”

Jim Toffey, head of E-Markets at GFI Group, said: “We work with dozens of dealers and today we rely on multiple systems to communicate. The ability to use one platform to reach many customers is extremely valuable. We also need to verify that we are working with authorised representatives at our customers and having access to a single, global directory that is validated by firms on the network is a major advance for our business.”

Heidi Johnson, managing director and head of Collaboration Services at Markit, said: “All participants in the financial markets are invited to join this open network. We believe our technology will transform the way people communicate, access information and connect systems and people. Having a technology-agnostic network will open up exciting new ways to connect systems and people.”

About the network

Markit Collaboration Services is open to any participant in the financial industry, and thousands of buyside firms, banks, exchanges, interdealer brokers and vendors are expected to join the network.

The ability to federate enables firms on the network to optimise the investments they have made in messaging and compliance infrastructure. Federation supports all XMPP and SIP-based messaging, including Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger, Microsoft Lync and Cisco Jabber.

Farzin Shahidi, founder and chief executive officer of NextPlane, said: “We believe that organisations should be able to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with one another in realtime, regardless of their underlying unified communications and messaging platforms. We are pleased to provide the scalable, many-to-many UC federation service which allows the financial services industry to collaborate in realtime.”

The network includes a security and privacy framework that provides participating firms with full ownership of their messaging. Message content is encrypted and is not stored by the network.

The network is supported by Actiance Vantage, the gold standard for active compliance which ensures all interaction on the network adheres to member company policies and FINRA standards.

Kailash Ambwani, president and chief executive officer of Actiance, said: “Social tools and industry-focused networks clearly help drive innovation and productivity across broad and often geographically dispersed user groups. We believe the open standard approach taken by Markit, coupled with the necessary compliance capabilities provided through Vantage, will be well received in the financial services industry.”