SST Awards 2018 Winners' Circle: SIX

Robert Jeanbart
Robert Jeanbart

SIX, the Zurich-based financial services firm that underpins the infrastructure of Switzerland’s financial center and provides capital markets firms with financial information and ancillary services, won two categories at this year’s Sell-Side Technology Awards in London. Victor Anderson chats to Robert Jeanbart, head of financial information at SIX, about the operational challenges it looks to solve for its sell-side clients, and how it differentiates itself in what has become an intensely competitive marketplace.

SIX won two categories at this year’s SST Awards—best data provider to the sell side and best sell-side technology provider of the year—thanks to its Valordata Feed. What are the core constituents of the feed and what challenges does it address for the sell side?

Robert Jeanbart, head of financial information, SIX: The Valordata Feed (VDF) is our core customer interface. Covering more than 21 million financial instruments, it is a fully structured, encoded data feed that delivers cross-referenced securities master data, award-winning corporate actions and price information in near real time. The Cross-Reference Service helps sell-side firms clearly link instruments and issuers across borders, reducing errors and enabling consolidation for exposure, limit-monitoring and regulatory reporting.

We are very proud that for many years, the VDF has been known for the quality and breadth of its instrument coverage. It is that, coupled with our multi-award winning corporate actions, that powers all of our other services, supporting regulatory, tax and sanctions compliance.

The past 12 months have been very successful for the business in terms of new clients. To what do you attribute this success?

Jeanbart: The past 12 months have seen firms grapple with an unprecedented weight of regulations, and our success in signing new clients is largely due to the way we have been able to lessen the compliance burden for firms. That is down to the huge investment we have been making over the last several years to design and build not only the products and services needed to support compliance, but also the infrastructure demanded by the new regulations too.

For example, the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) and Packaged Retail and Insurance-Based Investment Products (Priips) not only require the production of various documents, but also that they be disseminated, updated and collected. We recognized that this was something totally new that the industry did not currently have a mechanism for, and that is what prompted us to build our regulatory hub to meet that need. It is about working as one connected community with firms right across the industry—sometimes even firms that might appear to be competitors to us—to ease the compliance challenge. The hub has proved to be a huge success: since January 3, we have been adding more than one million Priip key information documents (KIDs) to the platform every week.

There are a number of well-established data providers in the market. What does SIX bring to the table that it believes helps differentiate it in a crowded marketplace?

Jeanbart: At the product level, we continue to be recognized for quality and breadth of coverage, but we believe our role in the industry goes far beyond that.

To that end, we run a number of user groups to bring communities together—across our clients, partners, and industry leaders to engage with clients and prospects on regulatory readiness.

We also look beyond our products and services to how we can add more value, either by layering on additional services, such as the regulatory hub, or by intelligent delivery of our services. Rather than just delivering our data in one massive feed, we take care to normalize and manage the complexity of integration wherever possible, as well as managing aspects like source compliance. We are always looking for innovative ways to simplify the process for clients.

What’s on the agenda for the next 12 months? How is SIX as an organization looking to help its clients while simultaneously easing their pain?   

Jeanbart: The focus for SIX will be on continuing to try to mitigate challenges for clients by doing even more of the heavy lifting on our side. In practice that means an unrelenting focus on innovation to make our products and services as easy as possible to consume, to empower business users. Now some of the most challenging regulations of late have come into force, we are helping clients ensure that the structures and processes they put in place are scalable and future-proof, as we look toward the next iteration of Priips for Ucits funds and the likes of FidLEG in Switzerland. 

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