Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg messaging rival planned

Start-up Wickr to use encrypted peer-to-peer communications

Wickr  is working to create an app that will allow both chat and financial transactions between traders.

Wickr is working to create an app that will allow both chat and financial transactions between traders.

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 21:27

Wickr, a cyber security start- up, is in talks with banks and big financial services companies including Markit to create an alternative to Bloomberg instant messaging, just as Goldman Sachs tries to create its own Wall Street chat service.

The US-based company has taken an investment from futures exchange operator CME Group and is working closely with it to create an app that will allow both chat and financial transactions between traders.

The app would undercut Bloomberg while creating a more secure service that automatically deletes messages that regulators no longer require financial services to keep, removing the risk of storing information for longer than is necessary.

Nico Sell, Wickr chief executive, said the company wanted to be the “cheapest and the best” for messaging, using encrypted peer-to-peer communications, which means Wickr never has access to the content of emails or chats.

She said the financial services industry could not trust the big technology companies to create a messaging service because their business is data. “You do not see Google or Facebook building systems this way because it is not in their interest. They are sitting on databases that they are legally obliged to sell to create value for shareholders,” she said.

Wickr would not say which banks it was in talks with, although it did say it was talking to Markit, the financial information service.

Wickr can be used to send messages that self-destruct, in a similar way to Snapchat, but for bankers the limit would be set to regulatory requirements. Many never delete messages, creating a store of information that could be enticing to a cyber criminal. – (The Financial Times Ltd 2014)