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Data Management Insight Brief

PwC Acquires KYC-Pro

PwC has acquired client onboarding specialist KYC-Pro from compliance consultancy FSCom for an undisclosed amount. The move comes as part of PwC’s plans to expand its regulatory compliance offering. KYC-Pro enables customers access to over 127 million companies worldwide, conduct individual AML checks across more than 20 countries and cross reference potential customers against international PEPs and Sanctions lists. PwC partner Ian McConnell says: “AI and automation can deliver significant benefits for organisations and people and, by incorporating KYC-Pro to our existing regulatory compliance offering, it complements the significant presence we already have in the financial crime operations space.” Research shows that by 2020, European banks will spend more than €1bn annually on their KYC management.

Singapore Affirms RegTech Commitment

At the launch of the Singapore Fintech Festival (November 12-14), Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Ravi Menon confirmed the country’s commitment to supporting regtech development. Menon identified six core pillars to develop the fintech ecosystem, many of which had a regtech focus – including identity/KYC, data governance and platforms for innovation. The Festival focuses on nine key themes, one of which is ‘TechRisk and RegTech’. It includes a Global Investor Summit showcasing next-generation ASEAN startups as well as an Artificial Intelligence Summit and an Innovation Lab Crawl.

Nathan Wolaver Returns to Asset Control as MD of the Americas

Nathan Wolaver has returned to Asset Control as managing director of the company’s Americas business after a three-year stint as global head of data management solutions at Broadridge. Based in Asset Control’s New York office, Wolaver is responsible for all aspects of the company’s business operations across the Americas, including sales, customer support and professional services. He reports to CEO Mark Hepsworth.

Wolaver certainly has plenty of experience of Asset Control, having first joined the company in 2005 as a senior sales executive. He moved on to Aleri in early 2008 as regional sales director, northeast, and re-joined Asset Control later in the year as vice president and sales director for the Americas, a role he held for six years before becoming managing director for nine months and then moving to Broadridge.

Wolaver re-joins Asset Control again at a time of accelerating growth in the Americas and as the company plans new product releases. Commenting on his appointment, Hepsworth says: “We are very pleased to welcome Nathan back to lead our American operations. His depth of knowledge of the financial data management sector and his previous experience at Asset Control are a real strength and a strong addition to our leadership team. The Americas is strategically very important for Asset Control. We have some of our largest clients globally here and we see excellent opportunities as we roll out our new range of products.”

Merrill Lynch Plans to Sell Bloomberg Stake for US$4.5bn

Merrill Lynch has struck a deal to sell its 20% share of Bloomberg back to the news and financial data firm’s corporate parent for an estimated US$4.5 billion. The bank is expected to announce significant second quarter losses today of around US$6 billion, its fourth straight quarterly loss since last year’s credit crunch.

The sale would help the Wall Street investment bank to raise capital to offset these write-downs, which could represent a loss of US$1.94 per share, according to Reuters estimates.

Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg, who currently holds 68% of the shares in the firm, is said to have approved the decision.

Merger of SWX Group, SIS Group, Telekurs Group Unanimously Approved

The owners of the SWX Group, SIS Group and Telekurs Group have unanimously approved the merger of the three companies (Reference Data Review, May 2007). Within the framework of the planned transaction, the business activities of the Swiss financial market infrastructure providers will be combined under the roof of a strategic holding entity. The objective of the merger is to enhance efficiency and innovativeness as well as to strengthen the competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre. This new corporate structure will be established at the start of 2008, subject to approval of the transaction by the Competition Commission. The new enterprise will operate under the name Swiss Financial Market Services.

Clarification: Asset Control/Crosswalk

In the June issue of Reference Data Review, we incorrectly stated that Asset Control has entered a deal to carry data from Telekurs’, Standard & Poor’s and Dun & Bradstreet’s joint Crosswalk initiative. Asset Control has stated an interest in this data but a deal has not yet been secured.

Morgan Stanley Buys Barra for $820 Million

Morgan Stanley plans to acquire Berkeley, Calif.-based risk modeling vendor Barra Inc. and merge it into its Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) index business. Morgan Stanley will pay $41 per share in the cash deal. MSCI, well known in Europe and especially Asia, recently turned its attentions to the U.S. marketplace, where it is seeking to expand in a marketplace dominated by the Russell and Standard & Poor’s index businesses.

Stop Press: IDC Sales Jump 25% in 4th Period

As Reference Data Review went to press, Interactive Data Corp., the main U.S. operating entity of Financial Times Interactive Data, reported fourth- quarter revenues of $120.4 million, up 24.8% from a year earlier. Net income rose 6.9% to $18.2 million from $17.0 million. For full year 2003, revenues increased by 18.0% to $442.7 million and net rose by 18.9% to $72.2 million.

Stop Press: S&P Teams with Mark-it On Project Red, Plans Bond Service

As Reference Data Review went to press, Standard & Poor’s Cusip Service Bureau announced that it was teaming up with Mark-it Partners to develop a numbering system for its entity database, Project Red. The S&P Cusip Service Bureau has created two sets of alphanumeric codes, covering credit default swap reference entities and pairs of reference entities and reference obligations. The codes are aimed at providing an easy method of identifying entities and obligations in default swap trade confirmations. Meanwhile, S&P also announced plans for a bond reference data service, to be launched mid-2004. The new, real-time service is aimed at supporting the industry’s Real Time Trade Match (RTTM) initiative.