An alliance of banks and media companies is forming to take on Bloomberg’s dominance of Wall Street’s technology infrastructure in more ways than one.
Thomson Reuters, the news and data company, has joined a collective of banks and media companies that are collaborating on a platform that will rival Bloomberg’s ubiquitous terminal, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The platform is being developed by Symphony Communications, which set out to operate an encrypted chat network for financial firms including hedge funds and big banks. Symphony is backed by many of Wall Street’s biggest banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and others. It was was developed in late 2014 after a group of investors led by Goldman bought out chat tool Perzo and rebranded it.
Thomson Reuters has joined the Symphony Foundation, a group that already includes BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Dow Jones, and whose members can develop and share modifications to the platform using its open-source code. When the Symphony Foundation was launched in May, it also included data providers Markit, McGraw Hill Financial/S&P Capital IQ and FactSet.
The news that Thomson Reuters has joined Dow Jones — publisher of the Wall Street Journal — as a partner means the Symphony platform could serve as a distribution channel for two of Bloomberg’s biggest rivals in the financial news space.
“The Wall Street firms using Symphony are highly valued customers,” a spokesman for Dow Jones told Business Insider. “We want to make sure our market-leading financial news and information is available to them on the systems of their choosing.”
Bloomberg’s rivals see Symphony as an opportunity to get their products out to a wider group of people, Alex Tabb, a partner and COO at research and advisory firm Tabb Group said.
“People want competition,” he said. “People are tired of having their choices to them dictated by a single provider. “If you have a product, and at the moment you only have one mechanism to get that product out, which is the Bloomberg terminal, it makes sense that you would want to support an alternative.”
Spokesmen for Reuters, Bloomberg and Symphony did not return calls seeking comment.