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Accenture Set to Roll Out Managed Reference Data Platform

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Accenture is preparing to begin live demonstrations of its Managed Reference Data Service, developed using Asset Control’s data management platform, which will provide outsourced reference data management services, next month.

The unveiling of the system, elements of which were on show at last month’s Sibos event in Atlanta, follows hot on the heels of a broad integration agreement with Reuters, which adds the big U.K. vendor to the list of content sources that will be available to MRDS customers. Accenture announced MRDS at the Securities Industry Association’s Technology Management conference in New York during the summer (Reference Data Review, June 2004).

Demonstrations of Version 1 of MRDS will begin December 1, with Accenture’s reference team embarking on a road show to illustrate functionality of the platform, which is slated to offer a broad range of reference data content types. Version 2 of the system will begin live demonstrations at the end of January.

Bill Cline, managing partner of Accenture’s Capital Markets practice, calls MRDS “the No. 1 initiative for fiscal year 2005 within the Capital Markets group.” Cline characterizes MRDS as a macro-level business transformation initiative, and reckons Accenture research supports his view that financial institutions will find the business process outsourcing model it embraces compelling.

“Financial institutions basically own 60% to 70% of the same data,” he says. MRDS will offer access to a broad range of securities globally, with Accenture providing the integration, cleansing and validation of that data.

Cline says MRDS will offer a framework that could allow a higher degree of granularity in what clients choose to subscribe to. The platform features administration, usage-monitoring and entitlement capabilities – provided through a partnership with Market Data Services Ltd. (MDSL). Using these capabilities, Cline says, participating data contribu-tors could opt to bundle and price their services in ways that differentiate themselves from competitors.

MRDS Version 1 will offer a live demonstration of MRDS’s capabilities for about 1,200 instruments. Version 2 will add instruments – as part of a longer-term phased rollout – as well as additional front-end capabilities.

“One of our charter clients trades everything,” says Cline, “so we have an aggressive schedule for the rollout of 2.5 million instruments.” MRDS goes beyond pricing data, and will include indicative prices, fundamental data, time-series data, corporate actions and client/counterparty data. To support the project, Accenture has established a host site for the service at its Capital Markets Delivery Centre in Madrid, with multilingual data-cleansing teams in Canada, the U.K. and India.

Accenture will offer a default cleansing function as part of the service offering. Clients will be able to apply their own rules where they see a competitive advantage in doing so, Cline says.

The addition of Reuters’ data to the mix – via the DataScope suite of services – will complement other participants that have agreed to collaborate on the project. They include the Global Corporate Actions consolidated feed that Accenture has developed with the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., Telekurs Financial, Bloomberg and FT Interactive Data. Cline expects to announce exclusive arrangements with providers of proprietary content in the coming weeks.

Cline agrees with the assessment – highlighted in A-Team’s recent survey of more than 100 data management executives, which was commissioned by Reuters – that regulations are emerging as a key driver in reference data projects. Compliance with regulations such as Basel II, Sarbanes-Oxley and Anti-Money Laundering isn’t feasible, he says, without a global view of the reference data environment. He says the new regulations are also allowing Accenture to link MRDS’s data-centric role to other Accenture service offerings, particularly in the risk area.

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