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Reuters Sets DataScope Select as Cornerstone Of Strategy for Reference Data Delivery

The launch on January 18 of Reuters’ DataScope Select platform is the culmination of three years of planning and development, and sets in place Reuters’ strategic delivery vehicle for reference data services through 2010. The release of the new service – effectively creating a portal-based ‘shopping mall’ that clients can browse for the reference data they need – underscores Reuters’ commitment to the reference data space, as it takes on rivals Interactive Data Corp. and Bloomberg.

DataScope Select is a flexible data delivery system that allows customers to choose from the range of reference data already provided through Reuters’ dedicated DataScope services, including DataScope Equities, DataScope Fixed Income and the EJV bond evaluations services. Furthermore, Reuters is making select third-party data available through the new platform, for example, Investment Technology Group’s Fair Value coefficient and Mace Advisers’ convertible bond data, and plans to add extensively to this list through the coming months.

Perhaps more significantly, Reuters plans to charge for data consumption on a pay-as-you-go basis, with pricing based on what a user consumes rather than a subscription for a pre-defined package of information services. As such, clients are able to construct their own tailored, cross-asset reference data solution, with access to reference information on an intraday basis plus additional access to real-time, intraday, end-of-day and historical price data.

All this, Reuters hopes, will make DataScope Select a compelling offering for a broad set of user types seeking to set their reference data houses in order. It’s no coincidence that Reuters is pitching the platform at the generic buy side, with portfolio managers, corporates, hedge funds, fund administrators and global custodians seen as prime candidates to relinquish the headache of internal reference data management to a single-source platform offering a smorgasbord of content that can be tailored to meet their very specific needs.

Indeed, Reuters has lucked out in its acquisition of Bridge Information Systems back in 2000, which gives it a valuable footprint among buy-side data terminal users – a challenge now taken up by Reuters Station – as well as winning content in the form of the popular EJV service. Reuters has been galvanized by the market’s craving for common sourcing of back- and front-office data.

Indeed, research commissioned by Reuters and conducted by A-Team, publisher of Reference Data Review, more than a year ago (available for download at /rdr-report.php) found substantial user interest in effecting consistent data between back- and front-office operations. DataScope Select could provide the mechanism to help existing Reuters data clients achieve that goal. Rivals such as Bloomberg (PhatPipe and Data License) and Interactive Data (with the addition of real-time data delivery capabilities) are already pursuing that Holy Grail.

According to Gary Barr, business owner for Reuters DataScope Pricing & Reference Data, Reuters has spent the past three years putting strategic investment into its enterprise data segment, of which DataScope is the key offering. In 2003, he says, the company did an analysis of future key business drivers and an assessment of what its clients would want. From that, it developed a seven-year view, taking its strategy through to 2010. DataScope Select, Barr says, was borne out of that effort, and – as such a strategic development – was built in-house by Reuters’ development staff.

He characterizes DataScope Select as a key component of Reuters’ five-year plan for enterprise data. Data- Scope Select represents a departure from supplying reference data in specific vertical packages through multiple data feeds, leaving clients to integrate those separately delivered sources themselves. Rather than take separate feeds for, say, taxable and non-taxable fixed-income securities, or equities and money-market instru-ments, DataScope Select can deliver Reuters’ coverage of those market segments through a single connection.

DataScope Select is delivered as a portal or through an API, providing normalized and logicized data from the broad DataScope database. Barr says that although the buy side is the prime target audience for the service, a major sell-side institution is in discus-sions with Reuters for using the service for coverage of a million instruments.

A further logical step could be to make use of clients’ existing Reuters Market Data System (RMDS) platforms to further integrate with other, internal data sources and applications at the client site. RMDS is traditionally used in real-time front-office environments, although elements have been used by clients to manage disparate data services on an enterprise-wide basis.

Another possibility – which, according to Barr, “has crossed our minds” – would be the addition of competitors’ reference data offerings to the DataScope Select portal/API. This could offer clients the mouth-watering prospect of a single delivery mechanism for any data currently available from the vendor marketplace. Any such initiative, however, could be fraught with politics, with pricing and distribution issues likely to be a source of much wrangling.

DataScope Select is being rolled out this month in the Americas and in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Barr says Asia will be added by the end of the first quarter, giving Reuters a global offering by the second period.

Barr points to the release, also this month, of new private equity offering and IPO data through DataScope as an illustration of DataScope Select’s shopping mall capability. This information, he says, will be yet another set of data available for selection by DataScope Select clients.

Reuters is adding this content via the DataScope Corporate Actions service, and is adding an ISO 15022-compliant feed as a delivery option for the information. The ISO 15022-compliant feed was developed in consultation with Swift, offering an alternative delivery mechanism to existing DataScope options.
The service will provide announce-ments on IPOs and follow-ons, direct public offerings, private investment in public equities, REITs (closed-end and open-end), rights issues (non-renounceable, renounceable, warrant issues), placings and introductions in more than 43 domestic markets. Coverage of a further 21 countries is in the pipeline, with a focus primarily on emerging markets.

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