Last week, global market data vendor Bloomberg, announced that it was offering a new set of alternative data products to its Bloomberg Enterprise Access Point web-based data store. These alternative datasets complement the reference, pricing, regulatory, and historical data already available through Bloomberg’s data portal which was launched last September.
Bloomberg Now Provides Alternative Data
While Bloomberg is brand new in the alternative data space, they now offer more than 20 alternative datasets via the Bloomberg Enterprise Access Point website, and they have plans to add many more over the coming year.
Datasets currently available on Bloomberg’s new platform include data on metals inventory, equities blogger sentiment, drug approvals, consumer footfall and parking lot activity, construction permits, geopolitical risk, and app utilization from providers like Thasos, Apptopia, TipRanks, PredictWallStreet, RS Metrics, Orbital Insight, OWL Analytics, Predata, Evaluate, 280First and Symphony Pharma.
Gerard Francis, Global Head of Enterprise Data at Bloomberg explained the addition of alternative data to their data store, “Our clients are looking to integrate alternative data into their investment process. As Bloomberg is a leading source of reference and pricing data, the integration of alternative data into the same Bloomberg Enterprise Access Point and Hypermedia API is compelling. We make it easier for our clients to contract, ingest, test and normalize their alternative data. Firms can come to one destination for data that can meaningfully inform investment strategy.”
Greg Skibiski, Founder and CEO of Thasos, one of the new vendors on Bloomberg explained, “Geolocation data is important intelligence for firms that invest in publicly traded assets, but it also provides insight into broader consumer and economic trends, from retail and restaurant activity to loading docks and assembly lines. Bloomberg’s commitment to providing meaningful investment data to financial services firms drove our decision to offer our MallStreams through Bloomberg Enterprise Access Point.”
Asset managers’ interest in alternative data and machine learning has exploded over the past few years as firms have been actively seeking a sustainable edge to add to their investment process. This has prompted many managers to hire data scientists, strategists, and other key members of an alternative data team.
Bloomberg’s addition of alternative data to its Enterprise Access Point data store makes considerable sense as most buy-side data consumers have expanded the kind of data they find valuable from traditional market, fundamental, and historical data to a wide range of unstructured data gathered from the web, various transaction sources, geolocation services, and social media sites. However, finding and wrangling this unstructured, dirty and incomplete data is often extremely difficult for managers who are new to the quantitative investing space.
Consequently, the inclusion of alternative data to Bloomberg’s Enterprise Access Point portal should make it considerably easier for asset managers looking to add these nontraditional datasets to their research process as Bloomberg does most of the heavy lifting needed to onboard, access and leverage this data. Bloomberg’s entry into the alternative data business should also be welcomed news for alternative data vendors, as they could potentially get wide distribution to Bloomberg’s more than 350,000 market data terminals worldwide.
Despite these benefits, Bloomberg is a latecomer to the alternative data game as a number of other firms have already launched data marketplaces, including firms like Nasdaq (including its recent acquisition of Quandl), FactSet, Crux, and BattleFin’s new Ensemble platform just to name a few. Not only does this mean Bloomberg is faced with a number of competitors, but most of these platforms are also farther along adding data sources, as well as various analytical features enabling asset managers to analyze, test and integrate these datasets into their existing models.
Even though Bloomberg faces stiff competition, the team at Integrity Research cannot count the global market data vendor out. The sheer size of its existing install base gives it an advantage in being able to promote its data marketplace, and the alternative data vendors they distribute. Ultimately, we think the platforms that are likely to win out will be the firms that can attract the most unique alternative datasets and that can add the most valuable tools to make use of this data. The big question is whether Bloomberg can be one of these winners.