‘Big Data’ Looms Large

Terry Flanagan

Regulatory issues facing global financial institutions will continue to make compliance a challenge, given the myriad of rules — from Dodd-Frank to Basel III — that must be navigated.

“To succeed at compliance and at managing risk, firms will seek to manage data from the top, across all their operations, instead of dealing with localized silos that don’t communicate with each other,” Debra Walton, chief content officer at Thomson Reuters, told Markets Media.

This past year big banks paid tens of billions of dollars in fines for various infractions, and that will likely become the “cost of doing business” for them as regulatory and compliance challenges remain at the fore, at least for the immediate future.

Computing and automation will continue to change the game in ‘information-centric’ disciplines, according to Walton.

“Products moving around the world can be tracked using chips, while satellites give traders and analysts up to the minute information about crop health, mine production, and global shipments that previously would have taken days or weeks to obtain,” she said. “Machines will handle tasks—such as reading text-based SEC filings—and extract important information far quicker than humans ever could, and the data they generate will sideline those who ‘rely on their gut.’”

One of the biggest events in the market in particular last year was the Alibaba initial public offering, the largest of all time. Thomson Reuters worked closely with underwriting banks, including Goldman Sachs, providing information and processing transactions.

“We keep track of data from most of the world’s exchanges and store it, providing our clients powerful research and analytics tools, and this information was essential to helping key players in the Alibaba IPO perform their roles successfully,” Walton said.

Big data and the growing data economy dominated the agenda last year. With the explosive growth of technology and the Internet, the amount of information being generated each day is continuing to grow at a rapid rate.

Retailers can track customers in granular detail, while satellites provide up-to-the-minute information about crops and other commodities. Information flies across social networks at dizzying speeds. “Financial services firms that don’t create a sound strategy to manage the data relevant to their operations, and those of their clients, risk losing ground to competitors,” said Walton.

In 2015, the ‘Internet of Things’ will increasingly connect to a plethora of devices—from thermostats to car dashboards—to the Web, creating another level of automation that will benefit consumers and provide more actionable data to companies, Walton said.

Featured image via Dollar Photo Club

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