Opening Cross: Data Demand Seeks Northern Exposure

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This weekend, my wife is taking me to Toronto to celebrate our anniversary, following a growing trend of Americans migrating northward-American investors, that is, seeking exposure to new markets and looking to take advantage of fragmented liquidity as more trading venues compete for market share.
This interest has, in turn, created demand for better and faster connectivity-both within Toronto itself (see last week's story about TMX Group's new low-latency network within the city limits), and across the border to the financial centers of New York and Chicago, and many vendors are looking to get in on the act, such as IPC, Atrium Network and Hudson Fiber Network, to name but a few.
But there's evidence that Toronto's popularity is spreading further afield. At the start of November, TMX hired Jonathan Baile as EMEA sales director in London-the first time the exchange has had a representative in the UK, officials say-in response to increasing demand from the region for the exchange's data products. In addition, reflecting the growth in demand for low-latency connectivity at home, TMX also recently hired Alex Lee-previously a relationship manager at Thomson Reuters-as senior product manager for the exchange's co-location services, reporting to director of data delivery solutions Dominic Dowd.
Our own method of transport-Amtrak-will be a little less low-latency, winding its way north through old industrial towns, mining communities and lumber mills-evidence of a time rich in natural resources. These commodities play a big role in Canada's financial markets today, because-just as in another resource-rich country, Australia-a high proportion of the corporations listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the former Bourse de Montreal are involved in these areas-mining companies, gas companies and the like.
Hence, I can't help but notice activity among some of the data and software vendors serving this space, who are beefing up their operations-especially their business development and marketing functions. For example, Jennifer Collins, former marketing director of IM trading software vendor Pivot, has joined energy data provider Genscape in a similar role, reporting to senior vice president of products Bill Townsend, one of a number of execs with a strong background in the data and energy markets.
But a glance at Genscape's board turns up something else of interest: Suresh Kavan, CEO of DMG Information (part of UK media group Daily Mail and General Trust) tops the board. Kavan was previously president of Thomson Reuters' Investment & Advisory group, and among other roles, was chief executive of I/B/E/S.
Meanwhile, OTC natural gas and power trading platform and data provider TruMarx Data Partners recently hired Rob Garfield-former head of energy at Reuters and vice president of market data at the New York Mercantile Exchange, and most recently director of market data at SunGard Kiodex-as regional account manager for the Northeast US, along with Margaret Nagle, a veteran of marketing at Optimark, Archipelago and NYSE, who joined as vice president of marketing.
But again, more notable names have taken an interest in TruMarx-James Newsome, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and former president of NYMEX, and Jerry Putnam, former NYSE president and co-founder of Archipelago, both sit on the board, and in addition, Putnam led the last round of fundraising.
What does the presence of big names who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is tell us? It tells me to watch this space closely. With so many different data points to consider compared to, say, equities, the energy and commodities markets still offer big opportunities for those with the will and expertise to address them.

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