Telekurs Financial’s Valordata Feed has been integrated into the products and services of competing data integration specialists Asset Control and Financial Technologies International.
The pair have taken different approaches to the mapping and integration, and there is divergence in the way they are promoting themselves and their respective strategies. FTI has focused on building a relationship with Telekurs as a partner and closely integrating the product to their software, while Asset Control sees the Telekurs integration as part of a big plan to integrate all major vendor feeds into a consolidated data model.
For Telekurs, these deals are in line with its plans to expand its relationships with software providers, a strategy that has proved successful with rival Financial Times Interactive Data.
FTI’s partnership with Telekurs Financial involves close integration between the VDF product and its StreetReference software. Called StreetReference with Telekurs, the combined offering is aimed at significantly reducing implementation time for clients, bringing it down to a 90-day period. It is currently in beta development and is scheduled for launch at the end of the second quarter.
“Telekurs wants to make its datafeeds more accessible, and we want to add value to our products by effectively mapping the entire VDF dataset into StreetReference,” says Steve Popple, director, EAMA and Asia Pacific at FTI. “We have been working closely together since last year on this project.”
VDF is Telekurs’ flagship product, providing instrument master and corporate actions data, as well as valuation prices for the entire Telekurs Financial security database. The 1.8 million instruments cover bonds, equities, options and futures, warrants, currencies, interest rates, and indices across 200 countries.
Bruce Hawkins, global product specialist at FTI, says, “The mapping process involved looking at the sample data, understanding what all of that data represents, looking at how it is going to be taken from the feed and stored in a database in a logical fashion, and then converting and translating it in order to populate the StreetReference database. It’s a huge job. “For a bank mapping the data into its in-house systems it would be a massive job: almost everything would have to be done manually for each system, and you would end up looking at many, many man-years.”
By front-loading the design and mapping processes to tailor the database for the VDF data, we are simplifying the process in the future, minimising the effort involved in any particular implementation, says Hawkins.
FTI has had a five-person team working on the development since October last year under a Telekurs development licence. “It took us at least six months, even though we were using a lot of automated mapping tools,” says Hawkins. Popple adds that it would have taken longer without the relationship with Telekurs.
Popple says that most customers will not want to use the entire dataset. “Different StreetReference users want different parts of the dataset, depending on their business area. But the fact that we’ve mapped every field means that we minimise the effort they have to make,” he says. “Effectively, we’ve packaged the database, so that whatever piece of VDF data the user wants to integrate, we’ve already done it.”
Popple says that StreetReference with Telekurs will be available to existing users as an upgrade, but that cost would depend on the structure of their maintenance contract “and, of course, their relationship with Telekurs.”
Eugen Niesper, chief executive of Telekurs Financial, commented: “Finding the right technology partner is never easy. FTI’s high level of expertise, commitment, integrity and teamwork during this integration has proven that this collaboration is ideal.”
The deal is not exclusive. “Telekurs will inevitably do the same thing with other software vendors in the future, just as we will integrate other datasets, but to have had this level of corporate collaboration has been a great advantage,” says Popple. “Telekurs is a first for us.”
Asset Control says that its approach is different from that represented by the FTI/Telekurs deal, which it describes as “a productization of a single feed.”
For Access Control, the announcement marks the completion of the first stage in what it says will be a series of projects to normalise and cleanse all of the major vendor feeds for consolidation into its data model that is aligned with industry standards, ISO 15022 and MDDL.
Ger Rosenkamp, chief executive of the company, says that it plans to have the majority of feeds integrated “over the next two years”. He would not be drawn on the order in which the developers plan to address the work, but it is understood that having addressed the European market with VDF, it will look next at Interactive Data Corporation’s feeds to address the US markets.
“The cross-vendor model has enormous advantages,” says Rosenkamp. “Once you have normalized the data, customers will be able to take their pick of the data that they want to create their golden copy.”
The company says that the data map has been established and it is currently normalising the VDF data to fit into its model. The mapping of VDF data has been added to AC Plus, the vendor’s “plug-and-work” data management solution for client’s in-house use and its ACDEX outsourced version of the system.
Rosenkamp agrees with the FTI camp that the mapping involved considerable effort, but comments that, “we had an advantage in that we have a number of customers who take Telekurs data and we have done work for them in this area”.
“By mapping all the feeds to a single standard, Asset Control provides an important benefit to its customers, and possibly to the financial community at large,” says a spokesperson. “Without the proprietary distinctions among the feeds, the customers can pick and choose their feeds and integrate them easily into a “golden copy”, eliminating the inconsistencies associated with proprietary formats.”
Asset Control says its data model is aligned with standards such as ISO 15022 and the Market Data Definition Language (MDDL). It covers market data, reference data and corporate actions. By normalizing vendor-sourced corporate actions data to ISO 15022, Asset Control hopes to ease the consolidation of vendor data with corporate actions data delivered by custodian banks over the Swift communications network. The Swift network supports the ISO 15022 format for corporate actions messaging. The normalization of the corporate actions part of the feed is particularly relevant to the recent announcement of a strategic partnership between Asset Control and Xcitek SolutionsPlus for corporate actions.