Goldman goes for desktop domination
Goldman Sachs is struggling to reassure other brokers that they have nothing to fear from its plans to turn proprietary platform RediPlus into a multi-broker trading system. Rivals see contradictions, a grab for profits, and a desire to dominate equities trading. Antony Currie reports.
GOLDMAN SACHS IS out to dominate equities trading. It doesn't just want to be the largest player in the market, it wants to be the market. That's what an increasing number of equities trading players are saying, be they brokers, investors or independent software and systems providers.
Goldman's weapon of choice for doing this is RediPlus, the proprietary front-end desktop trading system it inherited when it bought Spear Leeds Kellogg in 2000.
RediPlus provides clients with direct access to the major exchanges and liquidity destinations, such as ECNs (electronic communication networks), in Europe and the US for equities, options and futures. SLK launched the first version in 1992 and now claims it has 12,000 units on clients' desks.
The firm's plans for the system are sewing increasing discomfort and controversy in the market. Not only is SLK aggressively trying to expand the number of units in use, especially in Europe, but it also wants RediPlus to become a multi-broker platform. "Long term, we want to be on as many desktops as possible," says Duncan Niederauer, SLK's co-CEO and head of electronic trading services, who before the acquisition was Goldman's head of equity e-commerce.