Interactive Data has responded to market demand for easy and cost-effective access to reference data with the introduction of Apex, a selection of reference data service delivery and access mechanisms including intraday data transfer, event-based messaging, web-services applications program interfaces (APIs) and a hosted managed database service. Acknowledging growing customer interest in data standards for ease of integration and as a means to move between data vendors, the company is moving on from proprietary data formats to deliver reference data in XML format.
Apex includes all Interactive Data’s reference data covering over 10 million securities across a range of asset classes, as well as a rich data model and business applications later to support the next model.
The company says it will not force existing reference data customers to migrate to Apex and assures that it will continue to support any delivery methods they use today.
The data transfer service is in production with broker/dealer SumRidge Partners as an early adopter and others testing the system. The event-based messaging service is also available immediately. The hosted, managed database service is due to come on stream in the first quarter of 2013, with APIs designed to allow business users to download data due to follow in the second quarter.
According to Mark Hepsworth, president, pricing and reference data at Interactive Data, “This is a big initiative for Interactive Data and one we have been planning for a couple of years. We carried out about 200 client interviews to see what people wanted and found them wanting to consume more reference data efficiently and cost effectively. Reference data has become a significant issue with a focus on improving automation, reducing costs, meeting regulatory requirements and managing risk.”
The key to developing Apex was the change of ownership of Interactive Data from Pearson to private equity houses Warburg Pincus and Silverlake Partners two and a half years ago. “The new owners made an unprecedented multi-million dollar investment in Interactive Data and its technologies. Some of the investment was in our internal content management systems to make them available to our products. We could then see how we could layer Apex on top of that. I don’t see other data vendors putting that level of investment into reference data products,” says Hepsworth.
He says many existing clients are looking at Apex, particularly if they are running reference data projects and have concerns around regulation and risk management, but he also hopes new clients will be attracted to the services. While large companies tend to run more of their own infrastructure and smaller companies often opt for managed services, Hepsworth suggests the balance may tip as large companies focusing on cost control embrace managed services.
“This is about making it easier to access data, scaling to support increasing data volumes, reducing implementation times and using standards clients are familiar with. Services will be lower cost and the managed service will reduce total cost of ownership,” he says. “Licensing reference data can be an issue, but we will offer compelling licensing alternatives, including flexibility around redistribution.”