Exchange Data International (EDI) has extended its commitment to emerging and frontier markets with a new office in Agadir, Morocco. The office will not only increase the company’s capacity to translate corporate actions data from French and Arabic speaking countries, but also act as the base for EDI’s first foray into macroeconomic data.
The Agadir office opened in May with 20 staff and is run by Said Benbihi, a masters graduate in economics and finance translation whose previous employment includes work as a data analyst at EDI’s headquarters in London. The new location brings global EDI employee numbers to 300, with 220 based in Mumbai, India, processing data in English, and the remainder working in London or sales offices in New York, Montreal and Cape Town.
Jonathan Bloch, CEO of EDI, explains the decision to set up in Morocco, saying: “For the past three years, we have handled Arabic corporate actions data for equities and fixed income in Egypt, but uncertainty in the country means we don’t feel we can expand there. We will reconsider our position in Egypt in six months. The decision to expand Arabic and French translation in Morocco was based on the country’s relative stability, its pool of talented labour and the presence of ex-employees, including Said Benbihi, who understand the company and its culture.”
The Agadir office covers eight Arabic and 20 French-speaking countries in Africa, as well as 10 countries in the Middle East, adding capacity and quality to the Arabic and French corporate actions translations that are passed back to London and included in EDI’s corporate actions feed. Bloch comments: “The success of our self-sourced corporate actions service showed us the positive impact of aggregating the data ourselves on both data quality and query handling. Therefore, we jumped at the opportunity to better the quality of our coverage of French and Arabic speaking countries.”
The Agadir office is also responsible for the company’s first move into macro economic data. Bloch explains: “In response to client demand among economists and bank analysts, we are building a database of macro economic data covering 20 African countries. We plan to release it in February 2014. If clients want a similar solution on another continent we could replicate the project.”
Bloch notes growing demand in the US and UK for data from emerging and frontier markets, which can be volatile but are providing more opportunities as increasing numbers of IPOs generate more securities. He is also interested in exploring how EDI can provide more services to securities markets in the countries covered by the Agadir office and intends to look into this next year.
Meanwhile, the company is concentrating on bringing together pockets of Spanish translation of corporate actions emanating from stock exchanges in Latin America and Spain. While bringing these translation services together should provide economies of scale, Bloch is mindful of issues such as time differences in the search for a central location. In terms of corporate actions data expressed in Mandarin, he says the company will continue to use a local translation provider and does not see any advantage in EDI taking on the task itself at the moment.
On the product front, EDI is working to add mortgage and asset-backed securities to its corporate actions feed and hopes to release the augmented feed early next year.