Wall Street Bank Messaging Service Probed by N.Y. Regulator

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New York’s banking regulator is probing a new communications provider backed by several Wall Street firms that markets a messaging service and its ability to delete sensitive bank information.

Symphony Communications Services LLC is backed by a consortium of banks and hedge funds, including four licensed by the state of New York: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse AG and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Symphony, Anthony Albanese, acting superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, focused on the retention component of the service. He emphasized the importance of chat room transcripts and other written communications in recent bank investigations tied to market manipulation.

“We write to request information regarding the communications tools marketed by Symphony Communications Services LLC, including those related to their document retention capabilities, policies and features,” Albanese wrote.

The DFS letter asked for information related to data deletion, end-to-end encryption and open source features. Banks regulated by the agency are obligated by law to retain some information.

Electronic Messaging

Symphony, based in Palo Alto, California, was created to challenge Bloomberg LP’s dominance of electronic messaging at financial firms, according to a July 20 report by the Financial Times. Bloomberg LP is the parent company of Bloomberg News.

“Symphony is built on a foundation of security, compliance and privacy features that were built to enable our financial services and enterprise customers to meet their regulatory requirements,” said Symphony Chief Executive Officer David Gurle in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to explaining the various aspects of our communications platform to The New York Department of Financial Services.”

Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and BNY Mellon declined to comment on the letter.

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