Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Thought Leadership Update, December 2018

Two long reads worth checking out, both from Waters (subscription required):

Deep Learning: The Evolution is Here

Advancements in AI have led to new ways for firms to generate alpha and better serve clients. The next great evolution in the space could come in the form of deep learning. WatersTechnology speaks with data scientists at banks, asset managers and vendors to see how firms are experimenting with this form of machine learning, and where challenges still exist

Untapped Potential:The Road to Semantic Heaven

There is a movement underway to establish universal standards and the semantic ontologies that make them sing. As the industry approaches semantic utopia, questions remain about what steps need to be taken to get there and whether all the work will be worth it in the end.

Week in Review, 12/22/2018

CoreLogic, a global provider of property information, insight, analytics and data-enabled solutions, announced the Company has completed the acquisition of HomeVisit from Breakaway Holdings, LLC. HomeVisit is a provider of marketing focused real estate solutions, including property listing photography, videography, 3D modeling, drone imagery, and related services.


Digital Asset, the provider of distributed ledger technology (DLT), announced that Blythe Masters, the company’s CEO since 2015, has requested to step down as CEO for personal reasons. AG Gangadhar, who joined the company’s Board of Directors in April, has been appointed the Board Chairman and will serve as the acting CEO until a permanent CEO is named. Masters will remain involved in the company as a board member, strategic advisor and shareholder.

Bart Murphy, an innovative technology leader with significant application development and infrastructure management experience, has been named Chief Technology and Information Officer of OCLC. Murphy’s technology experience spans a diverse set of organizations and industries. Murphy will oversee OCLC’s global engineering centers.


Experian announced it will launch Experian Boost, a free online platform that allows consumers to instantly influence their credit scores. Through the new platform, consumers can grant permission for Experian Boost to connect to their online bank accounts to identify and access utility and telecommunications payments. After a consumer verifies the data and confirms they want it added to their Experian credit file, an updated FICO Score is delivered in real time.

- Kevan Huston

Big: Bloomberg to Offer B-Pipe via Cloud

This is big:
Bloomberg has begun making its B-Pipe datafeed available via Amazon Web Services’ PrivateLink cloud, to simplify connectivity to the feed for clients migrating their applications and technology stacks to cloud environments. 
The cloud-based feed will provide the same level and quality of data—and will be governed by the same service-level agreement—as its existing B-Pipe feed and Bloomberg Professional terminal, officials say, adding that clients will use the same APIs as they would to connect to the feed in their own datacenter, and will manage entitlements and permissioning in the same way.
The question, of course is what it's been all along: will (or to what extent will) a feeds business cannibalize Bloomberg's terminal business? Time will tell.

While the service is initially available via AWS, Bloomberg plan to offer Cloud-based B-Pipe via Google and Microsoft as well.

Waters has the details.

- Kevan Huston

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Week in Review, 12/15/2018

LexisNexis Risk Solutions is proud to announce exciting new functionality available in their LexisNexis online research applications. The online research applications you know and use today to conduct investigations and due diligence have been enhanced to extend research across external web and open source solutions. The LexisNexis Integrated Web Search enables a search of the internet without manually opening a browser or inputting search criteria.  12/13/2018

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, announced it has partnered with Xceptor, the provider of data-centric intelligent automation software, to enable clients to leverage Xceptor’s data transformation capabilities within DTCC’s Global Trade Repository (GTR) for Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR). 

MidOcean Partners announced its acquisitions and merger of HW Holdco, LLC (“Hanley Wood”), the B2B media and information services company serving the U.S. residential construction industry, and Meyers Research, LLC, the provider of real-time market data and advisory services to the homebuilding industry. The merger creates one of the residential construction industry’s most comprehensive information and advisory services platforms. 12/13/2018.

Nasdaq announced it has acquired Quandl, Inc., a provider of alternative and core financial data. The company offers a global database of alternative, financial and public data, including information on capital markets, energy, shipping, healthcare, education, demography, economics and society. Nasdaq plans to combine Quandl with its existing Analytics Hub business within Global Information Services.

Executive Changes

S&P Global announced that effective January 2, 2019, Martina Cheung, currently Executive Managing Director, Head of Risk Services will be named President of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Mike Chinn, President S&P Global Market Intelligence and Executive Vice President, Data & Technology, has informed S&P Global of his decision to leave the Company in March 2019.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Waters: Buyside Technology Winners for 2018 Announced

Waters have announced the buyside technology awards for 2018:

Among the winners:

  • Best Buyside AI Platform -- Nasdaq
  • Best Buyside data provider -- RIMES Technologies
  • Best TCA Tool -- TradeWeb Markets
  • Best Buyside Technology Provider -- TriOptima

The complete list is available from Waters (subscription required).

- Kevan Huston

Week In Review, 12/8/2018


TheStreet., a financial news and information company, announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to sell its institutional business units, The Deal and BoardEx, for $87.3 million to Euromoney Institutional Investor, the global business information and events group. The decision to sell the institutional business is part of the Board's ongoing review of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. 12/6/2018

Verisk, a data analytics provider, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Rulebook, an provider of business intelligence and software solutions for the London Insurance Market. Rulebook’s proprietary, uniquely distinctive pricing engine can be used for internal pricing and underwriting as well as external distribution for the specialty insurance market through its Rulebook Hub platform. 12/3/2018

New Mountain Capital and Vestar Capital Partners announced they have closed the transaction through which Vestar will lead a new investment in Information Resources, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, initially announced on November 15, 2018, New Mountain and Vestar will jointly govern IRI. Jeffrey Ansell, a Vestar Senior Advisor and IRI Board member since 2011, will serve as Chairman of IRI. 12/3/2018

Nexstar Media Group and Tribune Media Company announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Nexstar will acquire all outstanding shares of Tribune Media for $46.50 per share in a cash transaction that is valued at $6.4 billion including the assumption of Tribune Media’s outstanding debt. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2019.12/3/2018


Nasdaq announced it launched a Corporate Bond exchange for listing and trading of corporate bonds. The Securities and Exchange Commission approved this exchange on November 13, 2018. This new exchange will run on the Nasdaq Stock Market license and will be powered by the Nasdaq Financial Framework, Nasdaq’s next generation market infrastructure technology platform. 12/6/2018

Dow Jones Risk & Compliance has launched ExImCheck (‘Export-Import Check’), a new solution that enables efficient, auditable checks for trade compliance risk. ExImCheck is a web-based tool that allows financial services firms and international trading companies to search for dual-use goods, counterparties, locations or vessels through a simple user interface. 12/4/2018


Moody’s Analytics and Oliver Wyman have announced a new collaboration in Canada, the United States, and Germany as part of the Moody’s Analytics PartnerAlliance Program. Through this partnership, Moody’s Analytics and the actuarial practice of Oliver Wyman will work together to offer insurers expertise and solutions to help them efficiently address International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 17, the new standard governing insurance contracts. 12/4/2018


Thomson Reuters is eliminating 12% of its global workforce. The news and information company is drastically shrinking its staff, cutting 3,200 jobs and closing 55 offices by 2020. Reuters says it will employ roughly 23,800 people -- down from its current workforce of 27,000. 12/4/2018

- Kevan Huston

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Barron's on Big Data

Big write-up this past weekend from Barron's on Big Data (sub required). Some salient points:

- Gone are the days when a portfolio manager could rely on quarterly reports and sellside equity research in determining stock selections. Today, social media sentiment analysis and credit card swipe data are being incorporated into investment theses.

- Big investors like JP Morgan are holding data science "hackathons" to crowd source investment ideas from data scientists and statisticians. The most basic approaches to investing are being completely rewritten.

- Financial data (a focus of this blog) is a massive market - over $28 billion - and while alternative data is a tiny fraction of that - about $300 million, according to Greenwich - that share is growing rapidly.

- Even the most mundane digital activity can be repurposed as alternative data: web visits, parking lot activity, toll booth take.

Over time, my suspicion is that alternative data will become just "data" - part of the suite of information inputs that will form a fundamental basis of investment decision-making, perhaps no more special that public markets data or filings. Which of course begs the eternal question: where will alpha come from next?

Good read, highly recommended.

- Kevan Huston