Monday, August 16, 2010

Where to start eating the elephant?!

As most of you know, on July 1, Avox became a 100% owned subsidiary of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) headquartered in New York. The three months leading up to that date and the time between then and now have been, to put it mildly, crazy.

There are of course all the stresses and strains associated with negotiating a company purchase/sale. These however were significantly compounded by the marked increase in interest for business entity data within the industry. President Obama increased the pressure when he signed the Financial Reform bill in July which includes the establishment of a systemic risk regulator known as the Office of Financial Research (OFR - formerly NIF). Amusingly you will find a mildly derogatory blog entry written by yours truly on NIF earlier this year.

What really catalyzed the market was Avox's acquisition by the DTCC. It is absolutely clear now that this partnership is a great one. Financial institutions around the world recognize the DTCC for what it is - a global, industry owned financial utility with an excellent reputation for efficiency, security and stability. What better home for a business entity reference data utility?

There will be lots to report on going forward. From my new vantage point, I can see some rather significant shifts in the landscape and they are all for the better. The only requirement will be a willingness to change.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Counterparty Data Provider of the Year

THANK YOU to everyone who voted for Avox for the Inside Reference Data Counterparty Data Provider of the Year award. This is the second year we have won this. It's a real honour. However, the award really goes to our clients and partners who actively participate in the Avox data maintenance process. While we have a super team, solid infrastructure and rigorous verification processes, it is the feedback that we receive every day from clients and partners that alerts us to changes happening to businesses around the world that makes the real difference. Just as we do with our business intelligence, we share this award with you, our clients and partners.

Collaboration works. You prove it every day.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inside Reference Data Conference New York

Just taking a break from the conference to catch up on work. My compliments to Incisive Media for getting such a large crowd together this year. You will definitely need a bigger room for the reference data folks next year.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


We're off to a new year and hopefully some new and more positive attitudes towards transparency when it comes to disclosure of basic business entity information. Or perhaps not???

We've been working closely with a number of our clients over the years to verify information about firms registered in "secretive" jurisdictions (that does not mean that they leak by the way). Many of these tend to be in warm climates (although CNBC recently conducted a poll and found that the most secretive jurisdiction on the planet happens to be a little over an hour plane ride South East of Toronto where I'm writing this now - take a look

The fundamental problem that we all face in trying to learn about companies we might like to transact with is that many of them incorporate in jurisdictions where they have no obligation to tell anyone else that they even exist. And if these firms don't have to publish anything about themselves, you as a financial institution or client simply need to trust what they tell you. Who's going to argue? Indeed this is one of the reasons that firms incorporate in such jurisdictions.

So the question is this. In such a huge, interconnected, leveraged and complex global economy, shouldn't we adopt some very basic yet universal standards around transparency if we are to minimize the chances or at least impact of another economic crisis? For example, shouldn't it be necessary for every registration authority in every jurisdiction to publish on a read only website, at no cost to the viewing public, the legal name and registered address of all entities registered in their jurisdiction? And shouldn't that registration authority (the one that typically has the legal mandate to prosecure the owners of a firm should they lie) also inform the public if each entity registered with them is active or not? Companies House sets a nice example of this in the UK. This information is also consolidated on Avox's where it has been multiply sourced from various authorities.

This basic data serves as a kernel for a lot of other information however that core bit of data, if reliable and maintained in each jurisdiction by the authority with penalty inflicting power goes a long way to helping everyone converge on what is real, accurate and up to date. We call this Authoritative Source Convergence or "ASC". It's not an Avox product but a general initiative which we are working on with our clients, partners and a growing number of willing Authoritative Sources. This basic level of disclosure is vital for universal business entity identification (read "the holy grail").

Let us (and everyone else for that matter) know if you are interested in joining this initiative. We believe it can make all the difference.