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Interactive Data Restructures in a Bid to Meet Demand for Cross-Enterprise Data Solutions

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Interactive Data’s recent restructuring is designed to enable it to “walk the talk” of its “one company” image, according to Ray D’Arcy, its president of sales and marketing, under whom the previously separate Pricing and Reference Data and Real-Time Services sales, client relationship management and client service organisations will now be unified.

“Our company has been acquiring businesses for the past seven years. These acquisitions have positioned us well to compete in the top tier, with capabilities, products and services across the front, middle and back offices to enable us to offer alternatives in certain spaces to those provided by organisations such as Thomson, Reuters and Bloomberg,” D’Arcy says. While some acquisitions were integrated immediately, others didn’t lend themselves to immediate integration, he adds. “Starting a couple of years ago we began a programme, led by our chief marketing officer Mary Ivaliotis, to develop a message to financial institutions around the world to emphasise our “one company” image. We harmonised the different names and branded our institutional businesses with the same logo. We created a “one company” image from a marketing and outward facing point of view.”

The recent reorganisation is designed to align Interactive Data’s two largest institutional businesses – Pricing and Reference Data and Real-Time Services – under a single management structure to make the “one company” image a reality, he continues.

In addition to his current role as president of Interactive Data Real-Time Services, Mark Hepsworth has been named president of Interactive Data Pricing and Reference Data. “We have brought together our Pricing and Reference Data and Real-Time Services businesses in order to approach the institutional marketplace with a more coherent offering, as firms look to centralise data management and achieve consistency of data throughout front, middle and back offices,” Hepsworth says. “The front and back offices have been siloed in the past, and while this is not an overnight trend, we can see that the market is moving towards bringing them together from a data point of view. We want to be best placed to pull together our offerings across the enterprise.”

He adds: “We are also inevitably thinking about the fact that if the Thomson/Reuters merger does go ahead, the industry will be dominated by two large providers and we will be third. We want to leverage our strengths as completely as possible and be clear about the segments of the market we are focusing on.”

Interactive Data is introducing a layer of managing directors to work with Hepsworth to run its real-time, reference data, evaluations and managed solutions businesses. “We wanted to make sure we have champions in place focused on strategy, product development and execution for each of these areas,” he says. “This will help us to create a roadmap for product developments across the enterprise – as opposed to just for the front or back office. We have already implemented some offerings that bring together resources from across the group. One is our new benchmark pricing service for the ETF market. Another example would be our suite of offerings to help customers meet their MiFID obligations,” Hepsworth continues.

On the market-facing side, D’Arcy says, the new strategy builds on work that started a couple of years ago, when the vendor established its major accounts organisation. “The idea was to give some of our largest customers one point of contact across their relationship with us,” he says. “This has enabled us to find out if our customers like this approach. The feedback from around the world is that this has made it much easier for these customers to do business with our organisation, and has given them a much greater awareness of the full range of our capabilities. This programme is still in place. We will be expanding it in 2008 and also applying the same principles across the customer base more broadly.”

According to D’Arcy, the bigger financial institutions do now often have one person making decisions about both real-time and reference data. “Buying market data is becoming a strategic investment,” he says. “More and more organisations are setting up enterprise data acquisition teams. This is helpful for us. There is one person representing a firm’s data requirements and this results in a much more strategic discussion about what they want to do. At a high level, they want consistent content flowing through the organisation. By the same token, we have an interest in ensuring that our data is not being used outside the operations for which it’s licensed, so for us dealing with someone who has a real understanding about how market data is being used is also beneficial. Also, having more strategic discussions and getting a broader perspective of a firm’s interest in – and use of – data dovetails into our whole “one company” message now.”

Further changes in executive responsibility see Roger Sargeant, currently managing director of Interactive Data (Europe), taking responsibility for leading the company’s international business development strategy and for co-ordinating related activities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Additionally, Rona Fairhead has been appointed chairman of the company’s board of directors.

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