Telekurs Financial unveiled plans to increase promotion of its core data products as supporting STP and back-office automation at its User Group meeting earlier this month. The company has also beefed up its staff and introduced service account managers as a new service layer for users to contact with day-to-day issues.
Dominique Tanner, Telekurs (UK) business development director, said that the company believes that reference data is crucial to achieving the business objectives of financial services organisations through STP. “There are three key factors,” said Tanner. “Connectivity, which is already there – we are all connected to the Internet; technology, which is pretty much there, if not 100 per cent in some areas; and the third is the data, which is the most important. It’s data that drives the business, not software.” Tanner said that Telekurs has “a broad view” of what constitutes reference data. “It’s not just counterparty and instrument data,” he said. “There are all sorts of internal and external sources – it’s very decentralised, not very integrated. Reference data is encountered in multiple locations on various databases. This is obviously not the best way of dealing with this.” In terms of addressing disparity, Tanner believes that a clear scope of the project is needed and aspects including data maintenance processes, data architecture, data sources, business rules, and data standards must be thought through. A reference data model is essential in providing a single point of reference. He said that it is now recognised that reference data is needed across a wider spectrum of operational areas to ensure STP. Where before, efforts were centred on the trading and settlement areas, they now include areas such as order management and position management, where corporate actions and daily valuations are important. Telekurs advice, though, is to start small – for example working with one asset class in a single department – to achieve results in a couple of months, then expand from there. “For true automation, we should work towards T-1,” says Tanner. “Reference data should be there before the trade for true STP.” Tanner told the assembled users that addressing reference data is such a crucial issue that they “can’t wait for international standards – you need to have internal standards.” For users, he said, the issues are about process and business rules. “It’s basically about the centralisation of tasks, not the centralisation of the organisation – you can still have a decentralised organisation,” he said. “In fact, most data gatherers are already structured that way.” That said, Telekurs is continuing to work with industry standard initiatives. One of which is the London Stock Exchange’s Sedol expansion plan. The new Sedols will provide unique identifiers down to the listing level (ie: to show where a security is traded), which is something that ISIN codes do not do. Although Telekurs is working with the LSE to ensure its systems are prepared for the changes, it does not believe that this step is necessary. The gist of the Telekurs argument against the need for a listing identifier is that it doesn’t allow you to derive other information or interrogate a database in a flexible manner. “You have to make a clear distinction between the security and where it can be traded, and you can’t derive where an instrument can be traded from the instrument,” said Tanner. Tanner says that the combination, in a master securities record, of an ISIN code and a listing code such as the Market Identification Code (MIC) “allows you many more ways to interrogate the data.” It should be noted that Telekurs is a high profile supporter and provider of ISIN securities identifier data, and the co-host (with Standard & Poor’s) of the Anna Service Bureau, which is acting as the central hub for consolidated ISIN data from the national numbering agencies. In other news, Beat Koch, Telekurs (UK) managing director introduced some of the new faces at Telekurs. These included; Caroline O’Shaughnessy as third party business director; Louise Butler as marketing executive; Anthony Greene as business development executive; and a further five sales executives and key account managers in London and the new Dublin office. Telekurs has also worked on improving its data quality, adding Fitch ratings, consolidated profit forecasts, and real-time coverage of African and Asian exchanges. Finally, Telekurs is also introducing this year a new unified display platform for the off-trading-floor market combining its FinXS snapshot service and the Finvest real-time and historical data display application. A first version is scheduled for delivery in June of this year, and a full version will be introduced early next year.