Risk Markets Technology Awards 2021: Alternative data vendor

RiskMTA2021-inline

Alternative data vendor of the year: FactSet

Jonathan Reeve, FactSet
Jonathan Reeve, FactSet

Alternative data can provide enlightening insights, revealing hidden sources of alpha as well as risks, but it is also cumbersome, voluminous, unstructured and complex. To enable buy- and sell-side clients to navigate and capitalise on this information, FactSet dedicates more than half of its global organisation to data integrity and concordance. The resulting content feeds its workstation analytics and is also available via data feeds, application programming interfaces and public cloud environments. 

FactSet’s alternative content includes the Revere Business Industry Classification System (RBICS) with Tradenames that maps more than 170,000 products, services and brands to the granular sectors of the RBICS taxonomy. Shipping data, based on the daily processing of over 35,000 bills of lading, provides insights into complex global supply chains of more than 200,000 companies. Global sanctions data combines the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions lists and other global restricted lists to enable users to monitor companies and individuals. Geographic Revenue Exposure provides a structured and normalised display of companies’ revenues by geography, as well as giving the geographic footprint of companies based on sources of revenue versus country of domicile, and analysing global revenue exposures at the company, index or portfolio level. Supply Chain Relationships provides information on the complex networks of companies’ key customers, suppliers, competitors and strategic partners. Documents Distributor XML Transcripts analyses sentiment and uses natural language processing to deliver unstructured data on corporate events such as earnings calls and releases, investor and shareholder meetings, and mergers and acquisitions activity.

In addition to collecting and harmonising its own alternative datasets, the company offers feeds from leading firms through Open:FactSet Marketplace, which includes more than 30 feeds of its own content, and over 90 feeds from providers such as Truvalue Labs, State Street, ISS, Arabesque and IHS Markit, all integrated via FactSet’s symbology. The company recently introduced Managed Database Service, a secure Azure-hosted Structured Query Language (SQL) database for users to access Open:FactSet data feeds without requiring in-house infrastructure.

With FactSet Data Exploration, delivered via Microsoft Azure, clients can instantly evaluate datasets and build investment applications in a hosted environment, reducing the cost of trialling data before purchase. Content from Open:FactSet Marketplace is available alongside programming tools, including Microsoft SQL, RStudio and Python, as well as data visualisation tools such as Tableau. 

The company also recently announced that it will deploy its proprietary datasets, both structured and unstructured, on Snowflake – a cloud-built data platform – providing investment professionals with immediate and scalable access to content in an SQL data warehouse.

Judges said:

  • “A strong well-rounded product set with plenty of examples of innovation and product evolution.” 
  • “FactSet emphasises an open environment and continued development of their datasets.”
  • “Good content strategy.”

Jonathan Reeve, senior vice-president and head of content technology solutions, FactSet, says:

“FactSet delivers superior content, analytics, and technology to more than 138,000 users globally. As the alternative data market grows, we have expanded our data collection and integration efforts. More than 50% of our organisation is dedicated to data integrity and concordance. The best-of-breed alternative datasets we collect include shipping, sanctions, geographic revenue exposure, supply chain relationships, corporate governance and activism intelligence. Our Open:FactSet Marketplace offers alternative datasets such as consumer trends and sentiment from carefully screened third-party providers. Open:FactSet features more than 130 feeds, and many are integrated into our workstation, offering on-platform users a robust experience.”

 

Read more articles from the Risk Markets Technology Awards 2021 winners’ review

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