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Déjà Vu As London Stock Exchange Bolsters Data Activities

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Market data industry veteran Karen Young has been lured back to the London Stock Exchange where she will head a number of initiatives with implications for the exchange’s developing role in the reference data area.

At the beginning of April, Young will re-join the LSE as head of business development in its Information Services division with a remit to “identify and develop new products and services that will diversify the exchange’s information services revenue”. As well as being responsible for finding new business opportunities, she will oversee the implementation of recent information services initiatives, such as the changeover to alphanumeric Sedol codes; the Corporate Data Warehouse; and Proquote, a new subsidiary acquired earlier this year.

With a recent number of high-level appointments in the LSE’s information services business, it appears that the LSE is taking the data business seriously.

Young will now be responsible for the Sedol expansion plan, which has caused much debate in the market about the future direction of securities identifiers – a key sticking point in the move towards STP. The LSE believes that expanding Sedols will help ease trade processing problems as Sedols are present in the issuer and trading market as well as mid- to back-office functions.

The change from a numeric to alphanumeric seven-digit code and reworking of the database will provide an additional 600 million instrument codes, which addresses the original problem that the LSE was running out of capacity for new Sedols, as well as enabling it to increase the global coverage. This will cost the LSE in the region of seven-figures to upgrade, expand coverage of, and market the Sedol codes.

Young will also be responsible for the introduction of the Corporate Data Warehouse. The LSE believes this project will allow it to increase the range of market data it delivers to investors, data vendors and other market participants in response to strong market demand for standardised data from one central source. CDW is scheduled for launch in the next few months and will allow the LSE to create new products by customising the data it sends to customers through its London Market Information Link (LMIL), as well as providing easier access to archived trading data.

Proquote was acquired by the LSE at the beginning of this year for an initial payment of £10.9 million, with a maximum payout of £22 million if targets are met through to March 2005. Proquote’s business is providing real-time equity and other market data for professional investors.

At the time of the acquisition, the exchange said that Proquote would give it “Immediate entry into the financial market software and data services businesses” – businesses that it was, of course, abandoning last time Young worked there.

Young previously worked at the LSE till 1993 when it outsourced its Topic equity service to Telekurs (UK) and what was then ICV, which later absorbed the Telekurs share of the business. Young joined ICV where she remained through its various metamorphoses under Primark and Thomson Financial, including a period as managing director.

In her new role, she is joining a couple of old colleagues from ICV – David Lester, the exchange’s chief information officer, and Roberto Rivero, who has been appointed head of sales and marketing for the Information Services business. Rivero “will work closely with Young to increase revenues from existing and new products”, says the exchange. Young and Rivero both report to the Lester.

Following her time at ICV, Young was briefly with London software specialist Communicating, and was most recently commercial director at Caplin Systems. She says that she was approached by the LSE “with an opportunity that seemed too good to turn down.”

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