RIMES Technologies maintained its perfect track record by winning the best data provider category at this year’s Buy-Side Technology Awards, its 12th win in succession. Victor Anderson chats to RIMES’ Alessandro Ferrari about what separates the firm from other providers in the space, what buy-side firms currently want from RIMES, and what’s on the horizon for the New York-based data specialist.
RIMES continues to maintain its blemish-free record in the best data provider category in the BST Awards. To what do you attribute this unique record of having won the category every year since the awards began in 2007?
Alessandro Ferrari, chief marketing officer, RIMES Technologies: It’s because of the breadth and depth of our managed service, which produces sustainable (and scalable) long-term partnerships with our clients. We feed data from front-office systems through to middle-office and back-office systems across all functions: portfolio management, data management, risk, performance, and now compliance. We’re able to tackle all data challenges, including customization and blending, asset allocation support, preview and pro forma data, credit ratings, classifications, price-aligned analytics, security identification and data types. Although benchmark data is our specialist area, we offer all types of data, including alternatives and ESG, commodities, currencies, derivatives, earnings estimates, economic data, pricing, ETF data, mutual funds, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity property, REIT data and ratings. RIMES is truly a one-stop shop for data management.
What are RIMES’ clients’ most acute pain points at present? Typically, which aspects of your services are finding the most traction from the buy side right now?
Ferrari: On the data management front, all types of benchmark data management requirements, including alternatives and ESG data, plus growing ETF data requirements. On the regtech front, Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and European Benchmark Regulation (BMR) compliance are at the top of our clients’ agendas.
RIMES also won the best implementation category (data & operations) at this year’s awards. What do you believe sets the firm apart from other providers in what is undoubtedly one of the most competitive areas servicing the buy side?
Ferrari: Every day, our clients—all 350 of them, including half of the industry’s top 100 asset managers by assets under management, and nine out of the top 10 asset servicers—provide us with the best, most current insight into the full breadth of the data challenges experienced by the industry. This combined intelligence helps us to help them.
What’s on the horizon from RIMES’ perspective in terms of new products/offerings?
Ferrari: Following the success of our first BMR solution, RegFocus BMR Control, we’re launching a second BMR solution: RegFocus BMR Data Feed. The BMR came into force last January, ushering in a stringent regime for the administration, contribution to and use of benchmarks used in financial instruments and contracts. For benchmark users such as asset managers, banks and insurance companies, BMR has brought with it uncertainty over which new benchmarks are approved for use within the European Union, and around which historic benchmarks will continue to be authorized once the BMR transition period ends on January 1, 2020. Under BMR, benchmark users can only use benchmarks from authorized or registered benchmark administrators. The stakes are high, with fines for non-compliance scaling up to as much as 10 percent of a firm’s annual income.
Benchmark users are therefore in urgent need of greater clarity and transparency around the fast-changing benchmark landscape. RegFocus BMR Data Feed provides benchmark users with clarity around which benchmarks are authorized under BMR as the benchmark landscape continues to evolve. The service addresses the two major challenges faced by the financial services industry with respect to complying with the EU Benchmark Regulation: Which specific benchmarks firms can use (as the European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) only provides the names of the administrators), and how they can identify an index when no standard identifier (e.g. the International Securities Identification Number or ISIN) is available.
We comprehensively map index reference codes across official symbols, including ISINs, Bloomberg Tickers and Reuters Instrument Codes. In addition, the service draws on data from interviews with 350 data partners, including MSCI, FTSE Russell, Bloomberg and ICE, as well inputs from Esma and other European regulators. The result is a complete repository of all indices authorized for use in the EU under BMR—including from administrators based in third-country jurisdictions—that is continually updated to reflect changes as they occur.
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