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Standards: Speaking the Same Language Worldwide By Frank Träxler, international sales manager, WM Datenservice

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Due to the increasing complexity of its fields of activity and the relevant regulatory framework, the financial industry is faced with ever greater challenges in managing its systems, processes, data and information. The international environment, subject to diverse regulations (for example, EU Prospectus Directive, EU Savings Tax Directive, EU Transparency Directive, and MiFID), is fraught with inefficiency. It is now up to the financial industry to ensure the legally stipulated transparency on a sustainable basis.

The gain in cross border transactions is often at odds with individual national barriers. Although there is a large spectrum of solutions on the market in the form of software, hardware, and other methods, all-purpose remedies in respect of content, data and information are rare. The degree of specification in the data sector is also on the rise, making the integration of data streams from various providers the rule and not the exception in the international financial industry. To facilitate this type of ‘data picking’ and to offer compatible data for every link in the production chain on a competitive basis, WM Datenservice has been involved in the creation and provision of international standards for many years, with organisations such as ISO, DIN, Swift, EFAMA, FISD, and ISSA. This has led to such international standards as ISIN, CFI, IBEI, FISN, MIC and FPP, which reduce interfaces, simplify IT processes, facilitate outsourcing and enable core business concentration – while being increasingly prescribed by regulatory agencies.

In short, standards allow financial market participants to ‘speak the same language’, and are a precondition for international securities trading. As such, standards allow collated and qualified master data, issuer information, and corporate actions data to be provided on an integrated, worldwide basis.

In addition to standards as the prerequisite for entry into the international markets, the transparent depiction of financial instruments and the timely availability of such information are now the deciding factors. It has thus come down to providing the market with data as promptly as possible, and in the adequate measure, so that investors are comprehensively informed of the features and risks of their investments. WM Datenservice is in a position to depict complex financial instruments and provide reference data for order and trading systems and for risk management on a near-time basis. The time to market between the issue and the trading of structured products, for instance, is only a few hours.

Depending on the data content and the degree of automation required by international customers, WM Datenservice recommends its plug and work internet solution WM-DatenOnline, which requires no integration on the customer side, provides real world data profiles or comprehensive, customer oriented data feeds for straight through processing.

Even in the area of issuer services, transparency and standards are in demand on the international level, an example being the Fund Processing Passport (FPP) defined by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) and the Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management (BVI) in cooperation with WM Datenservice. The FPP is a uniform information profile with slightly more than 100 data fields, covering all information required for trading and settlement. The resulting transparency improvements can optimise transaction bank processing and fund company sales efforts. Capital investment companies subscribing to this service can publicise their fund data on the WM website at www.wmdaten.com, with WM Datenservice providing access to the FPP data free of charge to market participants worldwide.

Within the scope of the Fund Reporting Service (FRS) package, the FPP Service represents a coherent, overall concept. Through the FRS, WM Datenservice is forging closer relationships with international fund companies, as experience has shown that the comprehensive and timely provision of data to the important financial markets – those with a high demand for financial instruments – is crucial. And that corresponds to the location of WM Datenservice: in the heart of Europe.

The FRS includes up to date templates for data reporting as per all regulations (such as the German flat tax rate in 2009), WM-DatenOnline for monitoring own issues, extended quality checks on fund data reported to and distributed by WM Datenservice, free processing of urgent announcements and data corrections and complete tax support, as well as the FPP Service mentioned above.

Hence, it is standards and standardised products as well as services that facilitate faster and more efficient task completion – and increasing the competitiveness of our customers is our objective.

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