IMD & IRD Awards 2020: Best Alternative Data Initiative—FactSet

Inside Market Data & Inside Reference Data Awards 2020

Jonathan Reeve, FactSet
Jonathan Reeve, FactSet

FactSet wins Best Alternative Data Initiative for the second year in a row with Open:FactSet Marketplace, an online ecosystem that leverages FactSet symbology to align its proprietary datasets with those of carefully screened third-party providers.

The marketplace has continued to grow, now featuring more than 120 datafeeds, including FactSet’s core content as well as alternative data from providers such as State Street, ISS, Arabesque and IHS Markit.

“FactSet’s offering is powerful,” says Jonathan Reeve, head of content and technology solutions. “We are taking a thematic approach to data and linking it, using FactSet IDs as reference identifiers. This enables us to go to market with solutions for an entire theme, rather than dataset by dataset. Our current focus, for example, is ESG [environmental, social and governance], where there is increasingly high demand.”

Reeve reports high demand for datasets associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, such as consumer confidence, unemployment figures and sentiment scores. “Building an entire data package is incredibly valuable, especially given current events,” he adds.

The company’s Data Exploration feature continues to stand out. Powered by Microsoft Azure, it enables clients to instantly evaluate datasets and build investment applications in a fully hosted environment. Reeve describes this as a “sandbox in the cloud, enabling potential users to try before they buy.” It offers Marketplace content alongside programming tools, including Microsoft SQL, RStudio and Python, and data visualization tools, such as Tableau. FactSet also launched its Managed Database Service last year, offering a secure Azure-hosted SQL database to enable users to access datafeeds without worrying about in-house infrastructure or procurement.

More recently, FactSet announced a partnership with Snowflake to deploy its structured and unstructured proprietary datasets on Snowflake’s cloud data platform. “We are very excited,” Reeve says. “This partnership helps to accelerate digital transformation for companies thinking about moving their infrastructure to cloud. Clients will be able to leverage FactSet seamlessly and efficiently with immediate and scalable access to content. One of FactSet’s sweet spots is this ability to help companies with their digital transformations. We not only have plenty of high-quality proprietary content, but with the many other leading industry content providers and our linking skills, we essentially provide a turnkey content environment in the cloud.”

As for future plans, FactSet is focused on growing content and increasing the flexibility of delivery. Reeve explains: “We will be adding a lot more content, providing third-party content thematically and investing in new and relevant areas, including private company and deep sector information. Within our main delivery mechanisms – datafeeds, application programming interfaces and cloud – we are going to make tools more flexible and agile, ensuring customers can get exactly the content they need, when and how they need it.”


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