Reuters has announced the rollout of its Internet direct dealing offering, Reuters Dealing Link (RDL), a product it hopes will find a new set of users, primarily among regional and less active institutions. RDL is due to be rolled out at the end of Q1, and is currently being tested with selected financial institutions.
RDL is a pared down, Web-based product, very similar in look and feel to the company’s core Dealing 3000 offering, and represents the first stage of what Michael Whitaker, director of treasury services, says is, “a medium term strategy to migrate customers to an Internet Protocol”.
“Reuters Dealing Link is a way of lowering our price point,” Whitaker says, “And is aimed at extending our reach in the market, taking the Reuters system to different classes of users. It is an off the shelf software solution with a desktop application that does not need dedicated Reuters hardware, it just plugs into the Radianz network.”
Functionality will appear very familiar to Dealing 3000 users; the screen has an identical look. As a trade conversation is initiated, the system pulls out the pertinent information and pre-populates a deal ticket, giving details of the trade and highlighting the base currency.
“It is not as functionally rich as Dealing 3000,” explains Whitaker, “But as the system is mainly designed for clients with only occasional transactional needs, yet who depend on reliable access to the dealing community, the extra functionality of Dealing 3000 is not necessarily needed.”
Confirmed trades are imported directly to the trade blotter, which updates as soon as the user refreshes the screen. Double clicking on a trade within the trade blotter brings up the trade conversation, providing a full audit trail.
Two simultaneous conversations are possible on the RDL system, as opposed to the 26 on Dealing 3000, the company also provides six users per dealing code on RDL versus 12 on Dealing 3000. Settlement and confirmation instructions can be copy and pasted from a word document on RDL. Whitaker claims this is almost as quick a process as using the hot keys on the Dealing 3000 keyboard.
RDL does not offer the removal of the broadcast facility or access to Reuters 2000-2 matching system, and has limited user customisation options. However, RDL does provide much more user-friendly contact directories.
Reuters sees RDL’s key value proposition as being the access it provides to the company’s subscribers. “One of the great things about this system is that nobody has to wait and see if there will be a take-up of the service; the dealing community of 20,000 traders is already there,” adds Whitaker.
Whitaker offers a well-worn reason for the relatively late rollout of Web-based functionality: security and stability. “We have planned a product such as this for some time, but have held back because the technology to deliver it has only recently matured to the extent that RDL can be offered. Our clients have a trust and security in dealing with Reuters as a company that we are anxious to preserve. Therefore we have taken a very rigorous route to ensure there will be no damage to our relationship or reputation with our clients,” he says.
Now that the product is a reality, the company intends to develop RDL according to customer feedback.
“The entire project has been built in consultation with our target users,” says Whitaker, “But there are always one or two things you may want to change after a product is released, no matter how much consultation you have gone through. We are constantly improving our dealing solution offerings.”
Reuters’ long-term plan is also to close the gap between RDL and Dealing 3000 to ensure that the company’s products service all levels of the market. This will involve the addition of functionality to provide different levels of straight-through processing such as a TOF feed to a client’s treasury management system.
The first release of RDL represents what Whitaker terms “the bare bones” of Dealing 3000.
“In the past,” he explains, “Customers have said that they did not see the rationale for paying for full access to Dealing 3000 for some users, such as proprietary traders or less active branches. Now we have an entry-level product to counter this [the company says it is priced at $620 per month] and we can commence work on filling the gap.”