Our editorial last month about the cynical use of the term Golden Copy by the ever-growing number of newcomers to the business of reference data drew a crisp rejoinder from Kathleen Hawk of Clearview Associates, which provides marketing and public relations services to Asset Control. As you know, Asset Control was perhaps the pioneer of the Golden Copy concept, and as such probably has a right to be peeved by any negative connotations that may be drawn from the possible dilution of the idea behind creating a single security master covering all asset classes within the enterprise.
Here’s what Hawk had to say on the matter: To the Editor:However much as we’d like to claim that the idea of Golden Copy is our brainchild, it’s actually a well-worn concept in the world of database management that we dusted off to illuminate the challenges faced by users of multiple data sources. It simply means the reface copy of the data that is the accepted version. You also referenced the argument that there can be no such thing as Golden Copy, simply because several sources are likely to conflict at least some of the time. That is exactly why there is Golden Copy. Among conflicting sources, one value must be chosen in order to create a working version. Ordinarily, there is some programmed logic behind these decisions and when the logic fails to produce an acceptable answer, it goes to human researchers for a decision. The article mentioned that marketing issues are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, but there’s nothing simple about the management of market data. The integration and mapping work of feeds to applications, application to application, institution to institution, all while trying to stay abreast with changes in the source feeds, have led to the term, Spaghetti Syndrome, a morass of operational risk which is cured by the centralized use of Golden Copy data. You could also call it the Detangler Copy. When technology can overcome problems that are so long-standing and entrenched that they seem like the normal thing, some people may be a little skeptical. In the case of data management, the technology already exists to overcome the incompatibility of source formats and resolve discrepancies to create one trustworthy version that can serve the entire institution. This is not news anymore. The news that is actually interesting to data management professionals is that the technology keeps getting easier to use, less expensive to install and basically more for the money. Kathleen Hawk President Clearview Associates High Falls NY We agree with Hawk’s assessment of the current state of play, with the possible exception that any deployment of technology that fixes Spaghetti Syndrome is surely news, since it’s had to overcome many obstacles in addition to the merely technical. There is, indeed, nothing simple about the management of market data. As ever, were anxious to hear your views on how this market segment plays itself out.