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New Head of ICMA Ltd Milne Predicts Data Aggregation Role

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As a collector of data, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) will play an important role in helping the industry deal with the increased reporting requirements, need for greater transparency and greater requirement for accurate data in a post-MiFID/Basel II European marketplace, believes the new managing director of ICMA Ltd, Kevin Milne.

The changes to Europe heralded in by new regulation will create an environment in which “data sources become more and more numerous”, creating a requirement for aggregators, Milne says. Under the auspices of its UK subsidiary ICMA Ltd, ICMA operates a range of technology products and services, including the Computer UPdated International Database (CUPID) of securities terms and conditions data and the ICMA Price Service (comprising bid and offer quotes on fixed income instruments provided by the ICMA council of reporting dealers and taken from trades entered into its trade matching and regulatory reporting system TRAX2). ICMA is therefore well-positioned to provide such an aggregator service, Milne believes.

“Bond data has represented a challenge for many years,” he says, “with obtaining accurate maturity dates and coupon rates proving immensely difficult”. “During my years working with accounting systems, often half of the professional services time for the implementation would be taken up with sourcing and cleaning up data, specifically fixed income data. This same work was repeated for each and every implementation,” he continues. There is therefore an opportunity for the de-duplication to be done once, he believes, to create a “golden source” – “and this is the kind of service members and users of ICMA have been telling us they want for some time”.

Milne was most recently executive vice-president at investment management systems vendor SS&C, which he joined from order management systems vendor MacGregor. His previous career included a stint at the London Stock Exchange, and, most visibly, a number of years leading the Electronic Settlements Group (ESG) of Thomson Financial in EMEA, Asia and Australia, up to and including its merger with the DTCC TradeSuite business to form Omgeo.

In his new role at ICMA Ltd, where he takes over from Royston Lambert who retired in January having held the post for more than 20 years, Milne will draw on his experience in three main areas, he says – “the five or six years at the Stock Exchange as a member-owned, not for profit organisation, the time spent leading commercial organisations and the experience of leading the industry through change.” “I can be sympathetic to the not-for-profit ethos while operating along commercial lines,” he adds.
With the introduction of MiFID and Basel II, the landscape in Europe will “change, and it will change dramatically”, Milne predicts. “Having spent many years in vendor-land, I believe that being part of an entity that is a self-regulatory body, a trade association and a service provider will be right at the heart of that change. The last time the markets went through such a major change was Big Bang, and I was working at the Stock Exchange then. I believe that this time around ICMA will be at the forefront of leading and implementing change, and I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to do just that,” he says, adding: “ICMA has provided significant value over the years, but with the changes happening in Europe, ICMA’s value will have to evolve to meet them.”

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