April 27, 2017 / 2:05 PM / 2 years ago

Symphony adds large asset management clients in chat tool push

(Paragraph two of this story, first filed on March 27, was corrected regarding costs; adds final paragraph regarding Reuters relationship with Thomson Reuters.)

By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Symphony Communications Services LLC said on Thursday it had added a number of large asset managers as customers including AB, Balyasny Asset Management LP, Boston Partners and T. Rowe Price Group (TROW.O).

Symphony is a lower-cost messaging rival to Bloomberg LP. Thomson Reuters Corp’s (TRI.TO) messaging tool is free. Symphony said it has around 200,000 licensed users.

Symphony has been trying to gain traction across Wall Street and to control day-to-day communications between bank traders and outside asset managers.

While a number of banks who invested in Symphony including Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) use the chat tool internally, getting a foot in the door with powerful money managers is key to driving takeup in the platform.

BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) last year became the first large asset manager to move all internal chat messaging to Symphony, an important step to help buoy usage across other big Wall Street funds.

Symphony CEO David Gurle acknowledged that winning precious screen space from portfolio managers can be challenging.

“The buyside is buried under so much information from the sellside and so they were very specific about making sure that Symphony wasn’t just going to add to the noise,” he said.

Symphony was created in 2014 when a consortium of 14 financial institutions led by Goldman Sachs acquired Perzo, in a joint effort to change the way their traders communicate.

The system allows financial firms, corporate customers and individuals to put their chats, texts, tweets and emails on one centralized platform with the aim of creating a flexible and secure messaging service.

Symphony has raised $170 million in two funding rounds from a number of large banks and investors like Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O).

Thomson Reuters is the parent company of Reuters News.

Reporting by Olivia Oran in new York; Editing by David Gregorio and Nick Zieminski

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