Market Data Desktop: Familiar Tool Evolving with the Times
In the business of market data, the desktop has always played a prominent role. Since Michael Bloomberg began selling his data-fueled terminals widely to financial institutions, they’ve become ubiquitous across not only sales and trading desks but have also grown more prevalent in middle- and back-office operations. There’s now nearly two million desktops in place today and, while the models have expanded beyond the physical box to some that are offered as mobile and web-based products, their functionality remains critical to the day-to-day efficiency of all financial institutions.
Content is, and will always be, king, particularly when it comes to data desktop. While factors such as technology, service and cost all factor into the desktop’s value, products that offer “can’t miss” content will always be leaders. This has been the key to Bloomberg’s longevity in the desktop space, but as institutions ingest more different kinds of data, is there such a thing as unique content in today’s environment?
As with all areas of the business, COVID-19 has had—and will have—a considerable influence on the desktop business. Providers have developed data products directly related to COVID-19 (tracking and news) that will be of interest to many businesses seeking to measure the virus’ economic impact. More web-enabled and cloud-accessible tools will result, and service models will evolve, as the abrupt change in our working paradigm and the reduction in central office workers will have long-term implications on the desktop market.
The desktop landscape is more competitive than ever, despite the consistent two-headed leadership of Bloomberg and Refinitiv. As data feeds grow in prominence, the remaining terminal users choose their solution based on specific attributes, benefiting different vendors with unique value-adds that align with their particular business needs.
In sum, the desktop business is not growing fast, but one that’s healthy, with the potential to generate greater opportunities across downstream business areas, penetrating newly emerging markets, and introducing more flexible and mobile technologies to the existing landscape.
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Robert Iati is the Director of Market Data Research and Strategic Consulting at Burton-Taylor International Consulting, part of TP ICAP group.