Traditionally, capital market professionals used multiple sources to gather this data—a few sources for new issuance information, one for equity information, and another for holdings information and more. However, such complicated and time-consuming data collection models are no longer efficient in today's age. This is where Advantage Data, a leading distressed debt, and fixed-income workstation provider, demonstrates strong competitive advantage relative to other workstation providers.
"With 22 years of experience in the capital market, we deliver an intuitive workstation that gives sell and buy-side fixed-income analysts, traders, portfolio managers, and risk management professionals, access to a comprehensive, global fixed-income platform," says René Robert, President, and Founder of Advantage Data. From its humble beginnings as a provider of high-yield bond information to capital markets professionals, Advantage Data has evolved today into a superpower that covers 16 different asset classes, providing its workflow tools to service use cases across all of credit, including investment banks, advisory firms, valuation, Business Development Company (BDC) analysis, and asset managers. Advantage Data helps banks, brokers, mutual funds, hedge funds, asset managers, and insurance companies conduct their intra-day and end-of-day valuation, research as well as compliance functions. What powers Advantage Data's robust solution is its comprehensive three-pronged approach—depth of content, a platform that is well aligned with clients' workflows, and providing an intuitive and cost-effective solution.
Sourcing the High-Quality Data
Advantage Data delivers the breadth and depth of fixed-income content to its clients by aggregating data from approximately 2,200 different sources. "We are recognized as a source of sources across the industry," says Mark O'Brien, SVP-sales and marketing at Advantage Data. With bond pricing from over 1,600 contributors and loan pricing from over 600 sources, Advantage Data offers descriptive data and analytics on over 545,000 U.S. and international corporate bonds, over 19,000 syndicated loans, 4,000 middle-market loans, and over 100 equity markets worldwide. "We are one of the largest aggregators of data in the fixed-income space, and certainly one of the first," says Gina L. Robert, COO and General Counsel of Advantage Data.
Advantage Data's operations group ranks among the most experienced and talented data collection teams in the industry. Utilizing both onshore and offshore data collection staff that operates collectively around the clock, the firm's operations group works with trading desk contributors, third party vendors, journalists, credit agreements, prospectuses, and indentures to aggregate, and verify all data before releasing them to users. "It is a painstaking and tedious process, but necessary to maintain our high standards of quality and timeliness," says Mr. Robert.
An All-Inclusive Workstation
With 22 years of experience in the capital market, we deliver an intuitive workstation that allows sell and buy-side, fixed-income analysts, traders, portfolio managers, and risk management professionals, access to a comprehensive, intuitive platform
"Advantage Data's workstation was designed by capital markets professionals for capital markets professionals," says Mr. Robert, who has the firsthand experience of problems faced by analysts. During his career as an associate in capital markets, Robert witnessed the lack of services that meet the needs of analysts. "They often took hours to perform daily processes," he says. Today, Advantage Data automates most of these processes in seconds. Everything—from the content returned by each function to the location of each function on the workstation dashboard— is logically designed to yield the greatest amount of information in the shortest amount of time. The Advantage Data workstation has no user manuals. It is designed to be highly intuitive. "If a user knows how to use a mouse, he knows how to use Advantage Data," says Robert.
With a huge volume of data gathered from numerous sources, Advantage Data's intuitive workstation enables clients to have a live overview of the market, dubbed "live update," in real-time. Considering the significance of updated data in over-the-counter securities, the system updates data every second. Simultaneously, by collecting data from thousands of sources worldwide, the company provides a very accurate sense of where securities are trading. It also provides analytics on every single data point— approximately 4 billion—in its database, enabling clients to knowthe yield, spread, duration, convexity, and more.
The workstation offers many tools for users. For instance, using the Index Builder tool, clients can build custom indexes from over 500,000 current and historical securities. Meanwhile, the sophisticated charting capabilities help capital market professionals chart multiple combinations of bonds, syndicated loans, middle-market loans, equities, CDS, and/or indexes and overlay and compare them with up to 16 securities simultaneously. By using the workstation's Advanced Search as a business intelligence tool, capital market professionals can retrieve pricing by entering any issuer, identifier, or ticker and search through all bonds, loans, CDS, and equities. Its proprietary logic enables them to identify comparable securities, build and save a portfolio, and chart securities against an index.
Robert pointed out that creating comp sheets by hand is an arduous task. Advantage Data can price securities of an entire industry or an entire asset class in seconds, along with analytics that provides comparative data, making clients more knowledgeable with one click.
"We have holdings data so that clients can search buy-side firms for their current holdings by sector, portfolio, issuer, country, region, and even currency with ease. This data includes buy-side firms not only in North America but also in Europe and Asia," says Robert.
Furthermore, clients can download all this data in the formats they require, which is provided through Excel Add-ins, Data Feeds, API, and Custom Projects/ Solutions.
"Having a comprehensive client-centric approach, we have designed our system to align with clients’ daily workflow"
Strategic Client-Centered Approach
Clients are utilizing Advantage Data's workflow-driven tools to improve productivity and outpace the competition. The workflow tools facilitate seamless integration of the client's proprietary data with a comprehensive source of fixed-income pricing, analytics, and reference data. For example, investment bankers need to integrate their proprietary content with the market data in a contextually relevant way. Advantage Data's expertise facilitates their efforts.
"Having a comprehensive client-centric approach, we have designed our system to align with clients' daily workflow," says O’Brien. This, coupled with a competitive fee structure, positions the firm as the most comprehensive and cost-effective alternative to sources such as Bloomberg. "Fees imposed by competitors leave clients with no choice but to place their workstation in a central location, wasting customers' precious time and requiring greater effort," says O’Brien. "But with Advantage Data, clients can place a workstation on every user's desk," he adds.
Robust security is another critical aspect of Advantage Data's solution. In addition to a recognized user-id and password, the company requires multiple points of authentication, ensuring that each user is operating on an authenticated computer. Operating completely in the Amazon and Google Clouds, the firm ensures a secure, highly scalable, and redundant environment.
Seeking New Opportunities
Advantage Data continues to innovate and grow into spaces where there is a need for more automated and simple-to-use services. This was recently demonstrated by the company's move into the middle market loan space. In 2016, Advantage Data began working with a small group of BDCs to bring standardized market data, pricing, and analytics into their workflow and shed light on the historically opaque world of the middle market. Historically, the participants in the middle market used internal analysts to pick through SEC filed reference data and pricing across billions of dollars in middle-market investments made by the BDC community. With no infrastructure built around these quarterly filings, these markets have never had access to a platform to analyze the data in a timely manner. With Advantage Data's newest, award-winning products—the Middle Market Loan Advantage and the BDC Advantage—what historically took firms days can now be done with a few clicks. Utilizing its advanced data collection capabilities, and Boston-based and off-shore analyst pool, Advantage Data now provides reference data and pricing across $110 billion or 4,000 middle-market investments, all within hours of filing at the SEC.
Advantage Data adopts a simple strategy to beat the competition—provide a highly intuitive user interface, the highest quality data, and superb customer service all at the very lowest cost. The firm relies on a strong feedback loop, developed over the last 22 years, to drive product ideas. It continuously studies clients' workflow and anticipates their evolving requirements to be the first-to-market with solutions. "With additional products in the pipeline, we continue to focus on usability, customer experience, and underdeveloped needs of sell and buy-side fixed-income analysts, traders, portfolio managers, and risk management professionals," concludes Robert.