What will be the first step of the transition off of AIM?
The first step will likely be legal, compliance and IT teams working together to identify the pros and cons of moving to a single messaging application platform. The decision of which service to use will ultimately fall to these folks rather than the traders, because most traders will not understand how a new backend will work on a server.
What will these compliance teams be looking for in a new service?
It’s important that traders are able to use a new service easily, but other key components include:
· Making sure it integrates into the company’s retention policy
· Staying compliant with business practices and corporate governance
· The ability to search and archive
What candidates are likely to take AIM’s place?
No one knows for sure just yet, but experts are expecting IceChat to become widely adopted by the AIM trading community because the transition will be simple for many people.
Many people are already moving rapidly to IceChat. There's a trader directory, a compliance backend, and archiving capabilities. Right now, compliance officers across the board are likely already evaluating whether IceChat is compliant with their current business practices and overall corporate governance. And if they find that it is, they are likely trying to get everybody moved over as quickly as possible.
How can AIM users easily transition to IceChat?
AIM users already utilize IceChat to access their AIM accounts. While you can still log into AIM through the traditional methods (mobile app, desktop application, or the cloud-hosted server AIM Express), users can also federate and authenticate their usernames into services like IceChat, Trillian, Pivot and Open Fire.
IceChat has become a standard service through which to federate one’s AIM account. In fact, anybody who's been onboarded over the last couple years has probably gone directly to an IceChat user experience.
Is IceChat just for commodities, or can it be used across the board?
A fair amount of users are still using Bloomberg Chat and Symphony as a chat service. Symphony users can chat with IceChat users because it's on the federated protocol.
Most likely, you will end up using whatever chat service is associated with the trading portal you already use. For instance, if you're using Bloomberg portal, you're most likely going to use Bloomberg chat.
So traders who use ICE as a platform to enter and exit trades will likely be on IceChat. If you’re not using ICE, then you will most likely not be on IceChat.
What other options are worth considering besides IceChat?
There are several different options. A few include:
· Trilliun, which is a federated server that allows you to communicate with other IM clients.
· Symphony, which is trying to become the service for interoperability between different messaging applications across multiple industries.
· WeChat, which is M2M encrypted. Because of its encryption, it operates in a silo and can’t communicate with other chat services.
What are the benefits of an encrypted service like WeChat, as opposed to services that allow for interoperability?
An encrypted application prevents prying eyes—not from regulators, but from hackers and data theft. Hackers could potentially use your personal information to create a spoof account, which could allow them to place trades, move and/or steal funds—all under the guise of your identity. Encryption protects you from that.
Also, if you’re in critical infrastructure—natural gas, power, utilities—your customers have very sensitive information contained within contracts. If that information were to get out, it could be detrimental to the company. If they have large positions, the market could move against them and squeeze them in or out of a trade. If they're actually in the physical business, like power plant generation owners, any type of hacking could take the power plant down. So in these businesses, data security is imperative.
What’s the most important thing I need to worry about today?
If you're a trader on AIM, export your buddy list now, whether to IceChat or another provider. That's your primary goal. Because once it's gone, it’s gone. You'll have time to evaluate alternative solutions, but for now, you’ll want to save your contacts and move them to a safe haven, and IceChat is promising solution.