October 2018: Shaking Off The Semantics Stereotype

Jamie Hyman 2017

When you write about semantics, a funny thing happens: Sources get self-deprecating. For my research into the industry’s march toward game-changing semantics ontologies, I spoke with some of financial services’ most insightful minds, certainly—people who are excited by the topic, and nearly every one of them made a joke about how semantics is terribly dull or remarked how no one ever wants to talk about standards or the considerable, complex work that goes into establishing workable ontologies.

They’re wrong, though. At this very moment, the semantics world is forming creative partnerships and producing ground-breaking technologies and although so far there is only a glimpse of what could be gained by establishing and adopting ontologies across the industry, that glimpse is exciting. For this issue, I took a first look at how, after years of work, the necessary convergence of standards, ontologies and their respective custodians is finally becoming a reality. In fact, I found the topic so robust that I plan to expand it into a series, so look for features in upcoming issues of Inside Data Management that focus on other dynamic breakthroughs in the world of semantic ontologies.

Our Hong Kong editor, Wei-Shen Wong, also takes a closer look at how data is handled. We often hear data managers struggling to stay ahead of regulatory requirements mutter that although they mandate reporting, regulators aren’t equipped to handle all that data, anyway. Inspired by a European Securities and Markets Authority keynote speaker at the European Financial Information Summit in September who said the regulators are handling the data just fine, thank you very much, Wei-Shen spoke to their Asia Pacific-based and Japanese counterparts to learn more about what the region’s regulators do with the data they receive, and how they plan to improve their own processes.

Amid various discussions about how data is organized and managed, it is always worth taking a moment to mull whether the data should be eligible to deliver alpha in the first place. Amelia Axelsen’s feature on the ethics of alternative data investigates why and when firms should consider data ethics (hint: early) and reveals what are the big questions to ask to head off an ethical day of reckoning. Another area due for a day of reckoning is the rising cost of market data. Max Bowie provides a preview of industry user group and Nasdaq positions ahead of a two-day Securities Exchange Commission event slated for late October. 

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