November 03, 2000

Representatives from buy and sell side firms have formed RIXML.org (research information exchange markup language) in order to establish that protocol-in-the-making as the standard for describing all types of financial research and analysis.

By agreeing on one protocol to describe such information, which comes in many different forms including Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and audio and video files, financial institutions are trying to create stores of research data described by a uniform protocol. Once that is achieved, research from all sources--whether internal or from various financial institutions--can be aggregated, co-mingled and filtered.

Currently, buy-side institutions are bombarded with thousands of pieces of information from sell-side firms, communicated in dozens of different protocols. That means searches through such a body of work are highly inefficient and often fruitless. David Seibert, vice president of investment systems with T. Rowe Price and buy-side steering committee co-chair of RIXML.org, says that the formation of the group, which will be limited to 10 buy and 10 sell side institutions, was initiated by T. Rowe Price because of frustration it felt when attempting to co-mingle research from various sources.

"When we got to the second broker, they said, 'Here is your choice,' and they handed us a different format and we started looking internally and saying this isn't really going to work because if we are dealing with 80 brokers, we are going to be spending a whole lot of money taking in multiple formats," says Seibert.

As a result, starting in January efforts were made to attain buy and sell-side representation with hopes of embracing a common standard. RIXML, says Joseph Sommer, director of U.S. electronic trading and connectivity services with Credit Suisse First Boston and sell-side co-chair of the RIXML.org steering committee, offers the opportunity to describe pieces of financial research with more specific headers, giving investment mangers the ability to electronically sift through reams of information by criteria such as industry, country, sector, or analyst, just to name a few.

"Research is only good if we get it to the right person at the right time. Today the research analyst and the portfolio manager have to go through reams of information whether it's coming in on paper or via email," adds Seibert. "What the protocol allows us to do is be able to put in parameters saying that I want to see this specific type of research in this specific area from one of these specific firms. So if you have faster access to the information you actually want, it will enable you to make better investment decisions."

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