Instant messaging is quick, real-time, and permits multiple simultaneous conversations. It's a powerful tool, it's become ubiquitous, and banks have had to log IM for several years now. More lightly regulated areas of the financial markets, however, such as hedge funds and the credit default swaps market, have not had the same requirements. That's probably going to change for a number of reasons.

First, the regulatory pendulum is swinging decidedly toward tightening. Never mind that the current crisis involves some of the most heavily regulated institutions in the world, more regulation, involving more sorts of financial firms, is a virtual certainty. And there's no denying that manipulation of these alternative markets clearly poses systemic risks.

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