In yet another step forward in the reference data movement, the Financial Information Services Division of the Software and Information Industry Association, has been asked to serve as a neutral facilitator of an international forum to discuss and coordinate with other industry groups already working on reference data-related issues. This new group, the Reference Data Coalition or REDAC, will work to ensure that all groups working in the reference data area, such as the Reference Data User Group recently formed by Reuters and the International Securities Association for Institutional Trade Communication, ISITC, are aligned with the primary objectives of the overall coalition.
"Reference data issues are hot and they are important right now for all the right reasons," says Mike Atkin, vice president of the FISD, "Every part of a transaction lifecycle uses reference data and it's a requirement for STP." He adds that because of the importance of reference data in the trade cycle, it's vital that the industry is on the same page. More specifically, the REDAC's primary objectives are ensure that data reference requirements for STP are well defined and articulated to all involved parties and to resolve the information needed for instrument, client/counter party, trade specific and accounting identification throughout the trade life cycle.
The group will also evaluate and promote standards activity coordination to align standards for messaging and communication such as FIX, ISO15022, SWIFT, standards for identification such as unique security identification and business identification and standards for content such as MDDL, FIXML, ISO15022 data dictionary. "The biggest problem seems to be that nobody has a full and complete picture of things and they start putting solutions before problems," says Atkin. "So we want to make sure that the standards are being driven by the people who require them."
Operational implications will also be a main focus of the REDAC, defining who is responsible of providing the information required in the information chain and identifying alternative sources of required information. In addition, the group will work to ensure that operational challenges such as implementations, viability and cost effectiveness of any solutions are well defined.
But the work to be done initially by REDAC will be deciding how to coordinate all of the representatives and groups that are involved in reference data work. Atkin says the first step was identifying which entities needed to be includes, from trade groups to depositories, standards bodies, vendors, regulators and more. "They all need to be plugged in, this is an inclusive, not exclusive group," he says. "But how do you manage the discussion without getting bogged down?"
Atkin adds that REDAC will not be looking to take over any work being done on the reference data front, but rather will make sure that work goes forward and is done in a way that meets the industry requirements. Goldman Sachs' Steve Kelly has been tapped to chair the group, with the first meeting on tap for January. "This group aims to have one conversation globally about reference data," says Atkin.