Market Data Vendors Struggle to Keep Up Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 has spread and made its impact known on global markets, a number of banks and investment firms have been required to fall back on Business Continuity Measures (BCP). As a result of this, the lack of preparation by many major financial services institutions has been made evident. 

This lack of preparation is most evident in the world of market data. Speaking to A-Team Insight, an anonymous asset manager has stated that ‘in terms of data management, a lot of the vendors are quite limited in terms of how you can access their data.’ They continued that ‘this could be a prompt to review market data licensing and data acquisition in terms of efficiency under these situations. We are working with the vendors to get around these issues right now, but really it’s a question of speed – can we access what we need when we need it?’ 

This may serve to interfere with the otherwise sound continuity plans that many firms have had in place for years. It seems that the majority of big banks have transitioned fairly smoothly into remote operation. However, if market data supply is interrupted, this could change. 

There is some worry that firms have not sufficiently prepared to access their market data feeds while instigating BCP. Many firms place an undue amount of focus on a site being destroyed without sufficient thought being given to the possibility of staff working entirely remotely, as is the case with Coronavirus. 

Not all market data vendors are equally guilty of this, however. Some vendors provide remote access to their market data feeds via desktop, including eflow’s market data, ICE (the Intercontinental Exchange).  

Despite this, even if market data is made available, banks risk having to pay an estimated 175%-275% more for their market data, including vendor licensing fees, the cost of technology required to host the additional environment and exchange fees.

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