Refinitiv, formerly the Financial and Risk business of Thomson Reuters, recently announced it was launching its QA Direct data platform in the cloud based on Microsoft Azure. The move of QA Direct to the cloud enables quantitative investors to access Refinitiv’s extensive database, plus third-party data.
Refinitiv’s New Product Launch
QA Direct in the Cloud is a new product offering which builds upon the Refinitiv’s existing QA Direct hardware-based data platform, which provides a scalable platform to manage, maintain and integrate quantitative analysis and investment data.
The new QA Direct in the Cloud platform will eventually deliver 9 terabytes of entitled Refinitiv data, the largest repository of cloud-based financial data, a unified symbology, quantitative alpha models and other third-party content sets allowing customers to explore various investment hypotheses and implement proprietary quantitative strategies.
With QA Direct in the Cloud, Refinitiv handles continuous content updates in the QA Direct database 24/7, ensuring system availability and resiliency, removing hardware costs, and eliminating the administrative burden of managing data from customers. Client data can also be integrated to sit along Refinitiv content including Datastream Pricing (Equity & Index), I/B/E/S Estimates, Worldscope fundamentals, and StarMine Models. Third-party datasets are also available via the QA Direct in the Cloud platform.
Austin Burkett, global head of quant and feeds for Refinitiv, explains the launch of the new QA Direct in the Cloud service, “With this offering, we are delivering a wealth of Refinitiv and third party data in a way that leverages cloud-native capabilities, bringing amazing efficiencies to the data flow process. Microsoft has been a wonderful partner working with us to develop this proposition. Customer feedback has been excellent so far.”
Based on Microsoft’s Azure technology stack, the QA Direct in the Cloud platform enables each client to get access to the most up-to-date data they have subscribed to by leveraging a novel cloud native replication approach.
The QA Direct platform was acquired in 2006 as Quantitative Analytics Inc. (QSI) by Thomson Financial prior to Thomson Corp.’s 2007 acquisition of Reuters. QA Direct is an on premise service that currently serves hundreds of quantitative clients.
The new QA Direct platform makes considerable sense as a growing number of buy-side clients are getting increasingly comfortable using the cloud to access mission critical market and historical data. What is particularly interesting is the fact that Refinitiv is looking to push such a large amount of data into the cloud for client access. Refinitiv management acknowledged that this project pushed the envelope for Microsoft, who had never considered using Azure to publish this amount of data into the cloud.
What we think is particularly interesting about this product launch is the fact that Refinitiv could easily turn this new offering into a full-fledged data marketplace, providing numerous third-party historical datasets, as well as a host of alternative data sources. If Refinitiv were to head in this direction, they could quickly become one of the leading data marketplaces – levering their extensive in-house and third-party datasets, and their large buy-side client base. This offering could quickly eclipse similar alternative data marketplaces offered by FactSet, Nasdaq, BattleFin and Crux.
Of course, we haven’t heard much from Refinitiv about what their plans are for the growing alternative data space. However, we suspect the firm will definitely jump into this space sooner or later.