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Abstract

Company data is the bedrock of business information – so you’d be forgiven for believing that it must be comprehensively covered by now. Well, it isn’t. Indeed, so patchy is company information provision generally that vendors continue to see gaps.

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Company data is the bedrock of business information – so you’d be forgiven for believing that it must be comprehensively covered by now. Well, it isn’t. Indeed, so patchy is company information provision generally that vendors continue to see gaps.

Bureau van Dijk, for instance, is seizing the opportunity of the Data Marketing Show at London’s Olympia to release a fresh version of its Mint business intelligence product. The enhancements allow users, for example, to find companies that are investment backed, suggesting more aggressive growth targets and budget availability.

Meanwhile Thomson Reuters has just announced its Thomson ONE Research Analyst, allowing the sell-side research community to deploy company content, tools and analytics in a single workstation package with the simplicity of a web product.

Offerings such as these combine a multiplicity of sources to deliver outcomes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – and it would be reasonable to assume that all the company fundamentals required to achieve this would be readily available by now. Reasonable – but wrong.

That’s why in the United States the financial data provider EDGAR has teamed up with the marketplace platform OTC Markets Group to provide fundamentals for 800 companies whose stocks are traded “over the counter”. It effectively ends a situation where investors had to rely on disparate sources and formats for OTC financials – a pretty surprising state of affairs when such data has been the bedrock of business information provision for so long.

Opportunities also arise from new, non financial, company reporting requirements that will increasingly come into play. At the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development recently, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that businesses listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market will be required to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from next financial year.

Other governments will presumably follow suit in due course – but meanwhile there’s still work to be done on the basics. European Commissioner Neelie Kroes tweeted recently on the poor state of open company data in Europe (LiveWire background here) – prompting the pressure group OpenCorporates to score all 27 European Union countries on access to company data. The results, it says are “not good” – although non-EU member Norway has just published its company register as open data and Belgium says that it will as well.

With help from Bureau van Dijk, FUMSI’s Heidi Longaberger has been reviewing the situation in Europe. Some countries do aim to provide shareholders with a “true and fair view” of each company, she finds – but others are more concerned with information for taxation or statistics, or protection for credit grantors.

So – plenty of opportunities for information vendors. Quite a few for canny info pros too.

 

 

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