Sell-Side Technology Awards 2020: Best Data Provider to the Sell Side—FactSet

Sell-Side Technology Awards

Less than 20 years ago, FactSet was best known as a buy-side research and analytics platform that aggregated datasets from other vendors. But, realizing its exposure to the whims of third parties, FactSet embarked on an effort to acquire and build out its own content. The result is that today, while other vendors have consolidated or sold their business to exchanges, FactSet has quickly joined the elite of data vendors, with around 5,600 clients and approaching 127,000 total end-users of its products and services.

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Investment bankers have been a huge driver of sell-side adoption over the years, using FactSet’s workstation to build pitch books, before expanding their use of the vendor’s tools to other areas across a firm, such as equity research, says Kristy Karnovsky, senior vice president and senior director, research solutions at FactSet. “We have tens of thousands of consumers of our workstation on the sell side, which continues to be a growing user-class for FactSet,” she says. “What’s exciting about working with the sell side now is that they are stepping into their digital transformations, because they have many legacy systems that they’re migrating to cloud-based, third-party systems—and we want to be part of that.”

To make itself central to these projects, the vendor has invested not only in additional content—such as filings, disclosures, news, its Open:FactSet Marketplace of alternative datasets, and its new Deep Sector datasets—but also in tools for authoring and distributing sell-side research reports that contain links to underlying datasets, and in how it presents these to users. “We’ve made a lot of investments in our core product to redesign it using technology that wasn’t available when it was originally built,” Karnovsky says.

One area that FactSet has invested in is search—and specifically, the ability to perform more granular and targeted searches for specific data on the platform. For example, an investment banker managing the sale of a company needs sophisticated tools to identify potential buyers.

“Using artificial intelligence for idea generation, and search, we’ve been able to build out the ability to search documents for information that we wouldn’t have been able to in the past,” Karnovsky says. “And we are making sure that we are continually renovating, updating and streamlining our core content.”

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