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How Bilateral Chat is empowering our industry

Daryl Godwin

11 Apr 2018

Bilateral Chat on Eikon Messenger aids regulatory compliance by restricting access to two organizations, making chats more secure and compliant. How has this service evolved to become a major force in our industry?


  1. Users can create on-demand, persistent, compliant forums with external counterparties instantly.
  2. All Bilateral Chats are powered and policed by Thomson Reuters Legal Entity Data, which ensures that access is always restricted to participants from no more than two organizations.
  3. Provides a unique solution to an industry specific problem by ensuring that all inter-firm chats remain secure and compliant.

In response to regulatory concerns and the industry’s need to clamp down on the use of unauthorized multi-lateral chats, we introduced our patented Bilateral Chat (BLC) functionality to Eikon Messenger three years ago.

Since its launch in 2015, industry-wide adoption of our BLC has grown exponentially year on year.

Daryl Godwin Quote

However, at the start, many customers had misgivings — it seemed almost too good to be true and many were concerned there were hidden costs or exposures.

We enlisted the support of our team of messenger compliance specialists to educate customer risk and compliance teams on the benefits of the feature, and, as awareness grew, so too did its advocacy and adoption as a compliant method to conduct inter-firm communications.

3 clicks to create a Bilateral Chat

Powered and policed by Thomson Reuters Legal Entity Data

What convinced them? It boiled down to two main reasons.

Firstly, the benefits for their front office users, who through BLC were now empowered to create on-demand, persistent, compliant forums with external counterparties without having to follow lengthy approval processes that introduce delays and attract additional expense.

Find out how to get peace of mind from a compliant and secure messaging platform – Thomson Reuters Messenger Compliance

Secondly and more importantly, understanding of the fact that Thomson Reuters Legal Entity Data is the engine used to power and police every BLC on the Eikon Messenger platform.

This ‘live’ database, maintained by more than 200 dedicated analysts, holds and maintains legal share ownership of more than 88,000 organizational hierarchies, comprising more than one million legal entities, across 250 markets.

Learn more about Bilateral Chat with this Thomson Reuters training video

Each change applied by our analysts to the database to reflect acquisitions, divestments, joint ventures etc., triggers a re-evaluation of every BLC on the network.

Users will be automatically ejected from an impacted BLC to ensure access is always restricted to participants from no more than two organizations.

Lesli Fairchild Quote

Compliance peace of mind

Lesli Fairchild, Head of Collaboration Services and one of the inventors named on the Bilateral Chat patent, told us: “The design of BLC helped to provide a unique solution to an industry-specific problem. Where any latency can impact profitability, users need to be able to respond to situations immediately.

The fact that BLCs can be created ‘on the fly’ by users provides instant gratification for them and peace of mind for their firms.

Greater controls for managed chat rooms

Bilateral Chats are proving to be the preferred feature as new relationships between firms are formed on the network, but the demand for managed chat rooms also persists, and so too has our continued commitment to invest in this feature with three recent but nonetheless notable improvements:

  • Bilateral enforcement is also available for our managed chat rooms so as to automatically protect a firm’s users from joining or participating in unauthorized multi-firm chat rooms, including those owned by other firms.
  • Control of managed chat rooms are accessible only by Chat Room Organizers (CROs) appointed by their firms within a discrete environment outside of Eikon Messenger. In effect, this forms a demarcation between users and administrators of chat rooms and aids compliance and risk mitigation.
  • Unique to Eikon Messenger, CROs now have additional privileges to remove messages from chat rooms that they own and manage. Sensitive information and messages sent accidentally can now be prevented from further exposure. Whilst removed messages will not be visible in the chat room to participants, they will be accurately preserved for record retention purposes.
Bilateral Chat on Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger
Bilateral Chat on Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger

Solving the industry’s challenge

As Eikon Messenger provides the ability to find and connect with more than 30,000 firms worldwide for free, the actual combinations of firms that could connect in discrete Bilateral Chats are almost infinitesimal.

Our continued advancement in features that enhance compliance for inter-firm communications, which forms 95 percent of all chats on the Eikon Messenger platform, continues to attract new community members and adoption of Bilateral Chat.

Consolidation of chat from consumer to professional networks, increased regulation and heightened oversight all underscore the importance of choosing the right network to connect with your customers and peers in a compliant way.

Learn how to quickly uncover hidden opportunities with comprehensive data and content with Thomson Reuters Eikon

In an environment where there are continual regulatory challenges, we are delighted with the growing adoption of our messaging compliance tools, particularly BLC, to make inter-firm chats more secure and compliant across the industry.

Thomson Reuters Eikon Messenger

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