R U on IM? Growing Use in Securities Industry Despite Risks - TowerGroup

Instant Messaging (IM) is an increasingly common communication tool within securities firms, with a majority of securities employees surveyed converse by IM, and feel it helps them to improve their productivity, according to a new survey conducted by TowerGroup. 

"Within the securities industry, TowerGroup found that IM is primarily used to communicate within an institution on business-related topics - with the majority of messages sent and received between internal users," said Peter Delano, senior analyst in the TowerGroup Investment Management practice. 

Highlights from the survey findings include:

  • 75% of survey respondents send 25 or fewer messages per day, while 78% of respondents report receiving 25 or fewer instant messages. 
  • Survey respondents in trading and trade-related processing exchange the highest number of instant messages and, compared to the overall sample, are more likely to converse with external recipients via IM.
  • 58% of respondents ranked improved internal productivity and employee satisfaction as IM's top benefits.
  • 27% said IM is 'extremely important' to the firm - while a nearly 24% ranked IM as 'not very important.'
  • 60% of survey respondents use IM software, but only 16% began instant messaging within the previous 12 months. Another 18% of non-users expect their firms to deploy some form of IM in the next 12 months.
  • 28% of survey respondents still use less secure consumer IM applications.

TowerGroup expects compliance / security concerns to drive consumer IM applications off the desktops of employees associated with trading and trade processing within three years. Consumer applications will likely be banned from the desktops at all asset management firms within five years.

The Web-based survey was fielded by TowerGroup in October 2006, with responses from employees within investment managers, custodian banks, retail and institutional broker/dealers, and hedge funds. These firms range in size from large (i.e., over $100 billion USD in assets under management for investment managers) to small (less than $10 billion USD in assets under management).

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