Opening Cross: What Do You Buy the Market Data Manager Who Has Everything?

Some of the best gifts don't go under the Christmas tree.

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With just 20 shopping days left until Christmas, it’s time to patch up the wounds from Black Friday, resurrect your computer after Cyber Monday, and get back into the shopping spirit to find the perfect gift for that special market data professional in your life. The problem is, since they deal with technical wizardry every day, it’s hard to find something novel and new that won’t bore them. Plus, these are folks who deliver the impossible every day: if you think it’s hard to corral your extended family around a table and have dinner ready to serve just in time, spare a thought for those whose extended family can be thousands of very demanding traders, and who measure timeliness in microseconds.

For the fussiest timekeepers—say, those most pleased by the news that FIX Trading Community has implemented picosecond-level timestamps, exceeding the microsecond-level timestamping required by MiFID 2—every store has an array of precision timepieces for all, from those you can wear while diving to those that manage your apps, answer your phone, monitor your home security, and bully you into taking the stairs.

How about for music lovers? There’s nothing like a good Symphony to stimulate the ears and brain. In particular, messaging startup Symphony Communication Services, which continues to add data sources to its platform, now including corporate bond market operator DelphX, which has developed a new tool to help dealers quote prices for bonds they can no longer hold in inventory, by tapping into the inventory of institutional investors, in much the same way that securities lending works in equities markets.

Or, if you’re a good listener but don’t fancy classical music, why not learn a new language? How about Spanish? Or, even better, if you’re a Spanish company reporting material information to BME Group, why not join those already reporting in English, and take advantage of BME’s current drive to provide more issuer information in English to gain broader international takeup of its data.

Still don’t know what to get? Relax: just as ITRS is using Big Data analysis to monitor unstructured data and spot operational issues, retailers should be able to predict gift ideas for you based on your past shopping behavior. But be warned: Big Data doesn’t yet have a sense of humor. If you buy obnoxious novelty gifts, you’re going to get some annoying ads pop up over the next 12 months.

And if you really can’t decide on a gift, there’s always gift cards or good old cash. Hey, data providers (by which I mean vendors, rating agencies and exchanges), why not give your clients a break and hold back some of those fee increases you plan to introduce next year? ’Tis the season of goodwill to all men, after all—even those working in market data. Or at the very least, if you want a pleasant Christmas day, make sure your “gift” of new fees excludes the grumpiest, Grinchiest family members. For example, BATS Global Markets will roll out a new non-display policy in the New Year that has the blessing of user firms because instead of charging inordinate amount based on an estimate of their levels of algorithmic (i.e. not screen-based) trading activity, it charges rival exchanges for its data to ensure they are compliant with onward-routing and best execution rules. 

But if you give nothing else this year, give recognition to those who deserve it, just as industry association FISD recently named the Athens Stock Exchange as the winner of this year’s Outstanding Data Provider award, in recognition of its competence in communicating policy changes, data notifications and market events, especially around the Greek debt crisis. And speaking of which, if you decide to cancel your Christmas party and take a last-minute vacation to Greece, please take ASE’s achievement to heart and remember to notify everyone, so we aren’t left standing on your porch quickly losing our Christmas spirit.

Now that’s sorted, you just need to decide what to get your favorite team of market data journalists! 

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