Opening Cross: My Campaign for Data Democracy Will ‘Trump’ Donald and Hillary

With US political conventions in full swing, Max outlines his manifesto for data democracy.


My fellow market data professionals, today I announce my candidacy for president, running for the market data party (because we all know market data folks love a party), on a platform of data democratization and lower data fees.

If there’s one thing less popular than politicians, it’s data fees, which continue to rise. But some in the industry are coming up with new ways to ease the burden for clients. For example, Thomson Reuters last week revealed a new way to combat fees: by adding trading capabilities from OptionsCity Software to its Eikon terminal, the vendor says user firms will be able to consolidate their activity on Eikon, rather than viewing data in Eikon then using a separate system to trade—and as a result, incurring duplicate data fees plus the cost of the second software platform.

I’m no expert on this, so like our friends at Vela Trading Technologies (formerly SR Labs), I’ll go on a hiring spree, enlisting experts not from political spheres, but from the market data community. After all, who better to balance budgets than the people responsible for managing their firms’ third-largest expense?

As president, I’ll empower these staff to pursue better practices through innovation, to seek out and implement new datasets that will make your trading strategies great again. And if the dataset you want isn’t available or is hard to find, my experts will either find it or create it. For example, online economic and financial data platform Quandl recently added trade and volume data from foreign exchange settlement bank CLS Group to its platform—data that CLS doesn’t currently provide to the market. Quandl will collect and offer the data on a more granular and more frequent basis—hourly and daily, as well as monthly—to help traders identify trends based on supporting volume figures for price changes.

And I’ll start making changes immediately—and I don’t just mean on day one in office; I mean from the very first milliseconds, thanks to technologies like Metamako’s MetaMux switches, which the Australian Securities Exchange is using to provide real-time monitoring of its new trading platform, and timestamping and synchronization. Because like any successful political campaign, a successful trading operation has a lot of moving parts that must be accurately aligned to work properly together.

But what prevents businesses from working properly together is the overwhelming burden of regulation that means market participants can’t operate optimally, even when that means bending the rules a little. For example, Fitch Ratings was recently fined by the European Securities and Markets Authority for disclosing information about upcoming ratings to its parent company, for an occasion where it failed to satisfy the “12-hour requirement” around sovereign rating changes, and for lacking internal controls. So I say, let’s break free from those rules entirely—just be prepared for everyone else to do the same unethical thing to you that you’re doing to them—and then we can finally have a truly level playing field.

The media will no doubt just ridicule my campaign, but I don’t care about that, because increasingly, data consumers are getting their news through channels that use technologies such as machine-learning to not only create custom feeds of news tailored to their watchlists and interests based on past activity, but also to create stories from raw data that the platforms determine that those consumers would be interested in. For example, under a deal with Alliance News, RavenPack will be able to provide sentiment analysis specific to UK companies, while startup Digital Contact is targeting retail brokers with custom news feeds.

So vote for me! America needs a third party, and I’ve got the midsummer blues (the red, white and blues!) and need to throw a party, so please direct campaign donations to our subscriptions and advertising departments.

*Disclaimer: Campaign promises only. Past statements are not indicators of future actions once in office. Popularity may go down as well as plummet.

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