Bloomberg got caught with it’s hand in the cookie jar. On Glenn Reynold’s Instapundit blog, this story caught my eye. Goldman Sachs ($GS) execs were worried about the privacy of information in their firm because Bloomberg had access to how their employees were using the terminals.
If you don’t know, Bloomberg terminals are the information source for financial services all over the world. They are extremely hard to learn how to use. But, once you learn the language of how to type things in, you have access to scads of information.
Bloomberg terminals aren’t cheap. They are downright expensive. The monthly cost is so expensive, they don’t even publish it on their website. You have to contact a sales person to get one. I know they used to cost over $2000 per month.
Now that customers know Bloomberg is compiling data on them, I wonder what the response will be?
Investment bankers and trading firms don’t like to be spied upon. They are like the CIA when it comes to letting people know internal data about strategies and what they are looking at. I bet they were surprised the innocent looking terminal on their desk was a spook in the house.
Goldman later learned that Bloomberg staffers could determine not only which of its employees had logged into Bloomberg’s proprietary terminals but how many times they had used particular functions, insiders said.
The matter raised serious concerns for the firm about how secure information exchanged through the terminals within the firm actually was — and if the privacy of their business strategy had been compromised.
One action they could take is to try out Ycharts. For $200 bucks a month, you get access to all kinds of data. If I were a pension fund, a private equity fund, or asset manager, I’d give it a whirl to see if I could use it instead. Cutting unneeded expenses and overhead is a good thing. But, keeping your strategy secret is even more precious than that.