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Box 1: Not your average chat room

Controlled chat rooms on Internet trading platforms differ from public chat rooms and Netscape instant messenger in that conversations are secure and logged (audit trail). Not only is it possible to monitor who is in and out, permissioning may also be used to define type of participation.


right of access


right to speak


right to listen

Receive all:

right to tap (eavesdrop)

Received by all:



right to remain unknown

Box 2: Key success factors

  • non-intrusiveness: plug-ins should not mess up your PC or in-house applications
  • integratability of application programming interface (API) with in-house databases and applications. How easy is it? Standardized?
  • reliability: system must not hang; can cope with capacity usage
  • flexibility: ability to customise different needs; permissioning of chat room privileges, credit risk profiles, user preferences
  • speed and bandwidth
  • cost effectiveness of solution from broker or exchange perspective: minimal upkeep, maintenance, support; ownership of phone lines, downtimes, the "hassle factor"
  • security: encryption levels
  • usability: cognitive economy, ease of use, intuitive navigation
  • content: besides the absolutely necessary real-time prices and volumes - historical prices, news, weather, information for decision making
  • scalability: the ability of a system to grow and accommodate more users without loss of speed

Box 3: Other features and functionality

Other desirable features and functionality of Internet trading platforms:

  • bulletin board: to post and read prices, volumes, or other information (news, weather, commentary, plant outages, gossip)
  • chat room: exchanging information
  • trading: transacting on a posted price, specification, execution
  • data tools: charting, calculation, database, risk management tools
  • reporting: trading, scheduling, accounting
  • other: transaction management, analysis, and decision support tools
  • application programming interface (API) for integration with in-house or other systems

Box 4: Voice broking vs electronic trading

Voice Broking

Electronic Trading

  • flexible / dynamic
  • low cost
  • less need for standardisation
  • better price transparency
  • source / centre for information
  • less flexible
  • professional "support"
  • easier to use?
  • better ability to handle fast market
  • electronic trace (audit trail)
  • personal contact
  • higher cost
Source: Per-Otto Wold, Managing Director, Natsource-Tullet Europe