Opening Cross: Market Data: The Ever-Expanding Horizon

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Whether it’s alternative datasets, connectivity to new markets, or the expertise that professionals in our industry must continue to attain, the scope of market data—and the roles of those responsible for it—is always expanding. There’s never enough data or knowledge to satisfy the most demanding trader, yet there’s always so much that one never stops learning. And new opportunities constantly present themselves to those with the range of experience to take advantage of them.

For example, if you want to ride the growth wave of the Brazilian market, or obtain exposure to gold through contracts traded on the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, but don’t want to arrange your own connectivity to both regions or set up a local business, telecoms provider BT’s addition of BM&F Bovespa and HKMEx to its Radianz cloud network presents a cost-efficient opportunity to enter both markets, significantly expanding your geographical reach and the range of assets to which you can gain exposure.

Likewise, clients of Redline Trading Solutions’ feed handlers wanting access to international venues will be pleased to hear that the vendor is expanding its horizons with a raft of new feed handlers this year covering Asia, Europe and Central and South America.

Often, the first step in gaining exposure to new markets is to dip one’s toe into foreign waters using index-linked instruments that provide exposure without all the associated risks of direct ownership of foreign assets. And an essential component of index data is the weightings of that index, which can drastically change its composition. NYSE Euronext is currently introducing a new policy and pricing for its European weightings data, upsetting some clients with higher costs for the weightings, though the exchange points out that its policy simply brings its fees in line with levels already charged by other index providers.

And the number and type of datasets are constantly expanding. For example, just as trading models now look for signals not only in price data, but also in news, economic figures, legal decisions, drug trial results, etc., YCharts’ $3.875 million investment from Reed Elsevier Ventures has the potential to leverage new types of scientific or legal information from Reed Elsevier in its fundamental analysis platform, which already provides 2,000 metrics per stock and 350,000 economic indicators.

Meanwhile, former high-frequency trading tJordan echnology startup Chronos Research has reinvented itself as Robinhood, an app that crowd-sources information from investors—another new type of dataset that firms will need to understand how to take advantage of.

We also talk about expanding from an individual’s perspective in a longer feature in this week’s IMD that looks at how former market data professionals—and some still in the industry—are pursuing other ventures, and describes the qualities that can translate to any new role, whether the cause is a casualty of ongoing staff cuts across the industry or just the desire to strike out alone.

Leo Vozel, managing director at Jordan & Jordan, describes the process of growing one’s professional abilities as a constant state of identifying areas that play to one’s strengths, but which are different enough to provide scope to grow those skills in new directions, while allowing one to learn something new at every stage. “People too often look at the broad function of their experience without looking more widely at their expertise and how that might fit into a different kind of company. The ability to negotiate, plan, compromise, and sell yourself is an important transferrable skill,” Vozel says. “For anyone looking to stay in the data industry or wondering what value their time in the data industry would have in another area, it’s all about what you’ve learned, and how you can apply that expertise to another company or industry.”

In other words, if you want to expand your role and what you get out of it, you’ve got to expand what you put in, and expand your own horizons.

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