Bloomberg has shut down journalists' access to its trading information terminals after Goldman Sachs complained that a Bloomberg News reporter in Hong Kong asked the bank about a partner's employment status.
More than 300,000 of the world's most influential people in finance including top bankers, treasury officials, CFOs and hedge fund managers have access to a Bloomberg terminal.
A function allowing the agency's reporters and sales staff to track a terminal user's online status, contact details, employment record and related particulars has existed for years.
Goldman said such information was sensitive and should not be seen by journalists.
Other banks, such as JPMorgan and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch had received similar requests, industry executives familiar with these matters said.
"Limited customer relationship data has long been available to our journalists, and has never included clients' security-level data, position data, trading data or messages," Bloomberg said in a statement.
The fact that journalists can spy on a CFO's usage of the Bloomberg terminal is disturbing since billions are at stake.
Almost all users are identified by name and their terminals are often highly tailored to give them access to the financial information they need. Access to the types of information those users are looking up would give a reporter invaluable insight.