The ‘happiest time of the year’ described by the famous song will be a welcome breather for the industry as it comes to terms with the fact that things are busy again. Like a limbering athlete coming back to the track after a spell out with injury, the past three months have been akin to a strenuous warm-up session. Come January, the races begin.
At Sibos, we suggested to willing listeners that uptake of Reference Data Review subscriptions could be an early barometer of the mood of the market. Being an entry-level – read: very low-cost – expenditure, an RDR sub may prove to be one of the first authorized expenses on the road toward much bigger budget items. That prognosis already appears to be bearing itself out. Brian Sentance of Xenomorph tells of a very busy six months just past. Mick Coffey at Xcitek the same. And judging by our burgeoning storyboard list, things will only get hotter in the new year, what with goings on at the DTCC and elsewhere. One of those elsewheres is the Financial Information Services Division (FISD) of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), whose Mike Atkin and James Hartley held an informal informational update in New York last week, ahead of the group’s infamous holiday party. What was clear from this off-the-record briefing was that FISD and its Market Data Definition Language (MDDL) initiative have a heavy agenda moving into 2004. Without getting into specifics, it’s obvious that FISD has high hopes for MDDL, both broadly as a market data standard and as a serious contender as a standard for reference data and corporate actions. FISD is pushing for MDDL to be adopted as a standard by the International Standard Organization. Working Group 11 of ISO’s Technical Committee 68 is working on establishing standards for corporate actions and reference data, based around its ISO 15022 messaging standard, which is more transactions-oriented than data-oriented. The FISD is working hard to get MDDL onto the table there. Meanwhile, Working Group 8 of TC68 is due to make some big decisions on legal and business identifiers. Some have questioned why the Dun & Bradstreet DUNS numbers can’t be adopted as a standard. We expect to hear from WG8 on this early in the new year. A-Team, for its part, plans to spend the holidays in retreat, in the backwaters of Eastern England, preparing for the new campaign of 2004. One of our top priorities will be the release of our new research report, Software Providers: Working with Reference Data. This 200+ page report – sponsored by our friends at Financial Times Interactive Data, Reuters and Telekurs Financial – cross-references dozens of applications providers’ products with the reference data sources they need to operate. It’s a unique and essential ‘reference’ for anyone involved in developing, marketing, selling or deploying systems drawing on pricing and reference data, particularly in the securities processing automation (SPA) space, and we’re excited about releasing it (finally) to market.