Market data feeds are often referred to as firehoses, spewing out torrents of data. But while data enriches financial firms’ trading operations in the same way water brings life to the earth, it’s not a river; it doesn’t flow naturally from source to soil, but is rather a complex, manufactured irrigation system that must be carefully managed to ensure it reaches the places where it’s needed. To do that, firms employ market data platforms to make sure the right data reaches the right consumers and applications.
First, a history lesson. For many years, Refinitiv (and before it, Thomson Reuters, and Reuters) has enjoyed the dominant—even monopolistic—position in this market, with (chronologically) its Triarch platform; the Tib platform sold under an arrangement with Tibco; then RMDS (the Reuters Market Data System), which combined features of both; then Trep (the Thomson Reuters Enterprise Platform), which under new ownership of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), has been rebadged RTDS (Real-Time Distribution System).
Over the years, rival platforms either fell by the wayside, or were acquired by others—often by Reuters itself. One that gained some significant traction in the mid-2000s was Wombat Financial Software, a startup that foresaw the industry’s obsession with low latency and built a streamlined data platform and feed handler solution that suited high-performance trading desks, which frequently deployed Wombat while the rest of their business used RMDS.
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