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Talking Reference Data with Andrew Delaney: Sifma Revisited

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Last week I reported on how searing temperatures threatened to make the Sifma technology show in New York something of an assault course. In the end, though, dwindling punter numbers meant that the air-con actually performed as it’s supposed to, and we all remained cool – those of us who were already cool, that is – as we trudged through the ever-widening aisles.

At first glance, the show wasn’t reference data-themed. There were no major reference data suppliers beyond SIX Information and Markit (no Bloomberg, no Thomson Reuters, no Interactive Data). There were no EDM suppliers (no Asset Control, no GoldenSource, no SunGard, no – ahem – Bloomberg). Indeed, we were the only reference data publication there in force.

But as the event wore on, we bumped into interested parties, from corporate actions processors like Information Mosaic and SmartStream, to – well, to our old friends in the reference data world who had braved the $90 entrance fee just because they were being a bit nosy.

And so, just by turning up, we were able to catch up on some of the comings and goings of the New York marketplace, making Sifma 2012 a very useful event indeed. Among the snippets we picked up through just Being There:

  • Some insight into how Bloomberg’s PolarLake initiative will overcome the proverbial hurdle of liability for data quality, particularly in areas like corporate actions. Our experience has been that while industry utilities generate enthusiasm for lower operating costs and capital expenditure, they spark concerns about who will take responsibility for losses due to erroneous and/or incomplete data. Bloomberg has a cunning plan. Stay tuned.
  • Some insight into Thomson Reuters’ decision not to continue with its enterprise data management platform product. Thomson Reuters is at pains to point out that it believes heartily in the concept of enterprise data management, it just thinks the client should decide on an agnostic solution that best suits its needs. But at least one major Boston-based investment manager – believed to be Wellington Management – may not be entirely in agreement, it seems.
  • How Markit plans to bring it all together (it being its diverse set of data sources) through its Desktop initiative. Markit’s Gary Reifman demoed the Desktop, which is coming to fruition now, illustrating how Markit’s various organic developments and acquisitions have brought it content to allow it to compete with Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.
  • Some melodramatics among the big reference data providers, two of which embarked on a joint venture to combine their services (Interactive and Bloomberg?), only for the initiative to fall apart and be picked up by others (Interactive Data and Thomson Reuters?). More later.

And they told us it wasn’t a reference data show.

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