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Michael Shashoua, editor, Inside Reference Data

Asia-Pacific Tour Diary 1

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How Australian and other Asia-Pacific data professionals see the cultural challenges presented by the Japanese market, as Inside Reference Data editor Michael Shashoua finds in Sydney

In Sydney, for today's first of SIIA/FISD's Asia-Pac 2012 events, while preparing to moderate a panel discussion on obtaining high-quality reference data for risk mitigation, I heard from Tim Chamberlain, vice president of data strategy and operations, Asia-Pacific at Standard & Poor's, about the rating agency's use of outsourcing and offshoring to obtain that high quality in its data.

S&P recently established new data operations in India and China, with 700 staff in three locations—Mumbai for ratings, Delhi and Hyderabad for the S&P Capital IQ unit. India offers a well-educated, smart and motivated pool of staff to draw from for data work, Chamberlain finds. S&P's China data operations in Shanghai and Beijing provide a geographic advantage by putting the company closer to the market, in the same language, explains Chamberlain.

Japan, in contrast, has always been more difficult for the data business because of the language barrier for data, with financials not being reported in English. In India, for example, English language does work for data operations, notes Chamberlain. The question of suitability of different countries for data operations appears to have surpassed the cost considerations in the Asia-Pacific region, he says.

At one time, cost alone might have been enough of a deterrent to placing data operations in Japan, but the increasing importance of language and geography has made the market even more challenging, it now appears. In a way, this is a contrasting Asia-Pacific view of the cultural challenges of the Japanese market, or an opposing take about that market, but one having to do with something other than only regulation.

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