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Data providers keep cards close to chest

27 апреля 2009

One irony of the market data industry is the patchy data available on its members’ market shares.

Bloomberg, until last year the undisputed industry leader, rarely divulges financial details, so analysts gauge the market’s health from rivals’ data, anecdotal evidence and statistics on financial staffing.

They expect the global financial crisis to have profound consequences for the industry, but what those will be is far from obvious.

Lengthy subscriptions mean cuts by customers take time to filter through, and even in the quarter when Lehman Brothers collapsed, transactional revenues rose thanks to volatility in commodity and foreign exchange markets.

Only now, as first-quarter figures begin to come through, are investors watching anxiously for the early signs of the credit crunch’s impact. Citigroup analysts noted last week that transaction revenues could be down 40 per cent.

There is considerable uncertainty about the extent to which financial companies will retain overlapping, or similar services given the pressure on services. Although at the same time heightened scrutiny on valuations and increased regulatory demands could help support the industry.

Not all are affected equally. Citigroup argued last week that Thomson Reuters could fare better than Bloomberg because the latter had been more exposed to harder-hit fixed-income and asset-backed securities traders and hedge funds.

One analyst, who would not be named, said Bloomberg was taking an “aggressively proactive” approach to persuading customers to keep their terminals.

Thomson Reuters, which is less dependent on terminal sales than in past downturns, was fighting back ahead of launching its first common platform since the former Thomson Financial and Reuters businesses combined a year ago, the analyst said.

Источник: Financial Times

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