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Reference Data Comes Out Of The Shadows

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It’s always a good sign when the editors of a new newsletter are flooded by market participants with news to report, rather than having to hound industry contacts in search of stories. It says something about the vibrancy of the market space.

And so it has been with Reference Data Review. It seems that we have hit a hotspot of activity as the reference data business sees itself thrust into the spotlight, after years in the shadows of the more glamourous real-time data business. Over the past month there has been a flurry of activity around standardisation and co-operative efforts with meetings between the UK Reference Data Users Group, the US Reference Data Coalition and ISITC, the International Securities Association for Institutional Trade Communication. Between them, these groups now represent a large number of banks and other financial institutions, and – as any of the Powerpoint presentations you can download from their websites will confirm – these are people who have budgets. Small wonder, then, that we see more and more vendors piling in with their various reference data and management solutions. We obviously can’t compare this with the madness of the dot-com years, but when we were planning Reference Data Review last year, much of the activity was still in committee rooms and many vendors had merely a passing reference – excuse the pun – to the subject somewhere in their literature. If you’ve been toiling away in corporate actions for the past decade or so, now is your moment in the sun. What was once at best viewed as a corporate backwater – and at worst as a cost centre ripe for pruning – is now high on the agenda, and virtually every player is hiring in this area (as seen in our In Brief section, next page). A small ray of sunshine in the current tumultuous markets. This month, the topic of securities identifiers is high on everyone’s agenda. We report that industry participants are gearing up for the cutover to ISINs on April xx. As one of our readers puts it, for the German marketplace, this is as significant an upheaval as the introduction of the euro or Y2K. From what we can tell, though, German efficiency will ensure things progress smoothly, an end result that surely will lead to wider adoption of ISINs throughout Europe. Securities identifiers are also high on the agenda at the London Stock Exchange, where it is progressing with plans on Sedol expansion, and has released draft pricing details. We hope you’ve been enjoying your free trial of Reference Data Review. This is the third and final trial issue, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on our upcoming issues, which promise to be packed with hot news from the burgeoning reference data industry.

-The A-Team

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