Wall Street-backed chat company Symphony up and running with new media partners

Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:00pm EDT
 
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By Olivia Oran

Sept 15 (Reuters) - Wall Street-backed messaging platform Symphony Communications Services LLC announced a number of partnerships with major media companies during a kick-off event on Tuesday.

Symphony, a lower-cost rival to Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters Corp, is working with News Corp's Dow Jones to offer news stories in its service and with McGraw Hill Financial Inc to integrate data and analytics from its S&P Capital IQ product. It also announced a partnership with data company Selerity to provide tailored content to Symphony customers.

Chief Executive Officer David Gurle hinted at other potential features for Symphony, including e-mail integration and real-time screen sharing.

Symphony is also looking at other potential customers besides banks, such as healthcare, financial technology and audit companies

Symphony's cloud-based messaging platform looks similar to a social network system like Twitter Inc, with hashtags and mentions.

The company is trying to differentiate itself from entrenched competitors by touting its encryption technology to keep sensitive information safe from hackers. At the same time, Symphony is working with banks' compliance departments so that messages could be turned over to regulators if needed for potential Wall Street investigations.

Symphony's launch comes just one day after New York State's Department of Financial Services said it had reached an agreement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Deutsche Bank AG , Credit Suisse AG and Bank of New York Mellon Corp for record-keeping on the service.

The banks, part of a consortium of 14 financial institutions that have set up the Symphony service, have agreed to retain a copy of their chat messages for seven years.

That agreement is a "landmark which validates Symphony's security and compliance model," Gurle said, adding that the company was also speaking to other U.S. and foreign regulators.

Symphony is available to businesses with more than 50 users for $15 per user per month. Smaller businesses and individuals can use the tool for free. (Reporting by Olivia Oran; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)