Spotlight FactSet: Moving Financial Data From the Bike Messenger to the Cloud

September 15, 2022
By Knowledge Leaders Team in Knowledge Leaders

Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, FactSet is a global financial data analytics company. Using a cloud-based subscription model, the firm delivers intelligence to inform investment decisions to more than 160,000 asset managers, bankers, wealth managers, and corporations. Its financial tools connect and contextualize data from 800+ third-party vendors, 25 proprietary sources, and more than four million portfolios—all aimed at powering clients with the data to uncover new trends, opportunities, and competitive advantages.

FactSet was founded in 1978 around the idea of outpacing change, a vision that would ultimately move financial data from the bike messenger to the cloud. The firm’s technology platform is based on the belief that to succeed, tools must be open, flexible, and nimble. Today’s FactSet allows clients to configure and hyper-personalize their experiences via data feeds and application programming interfaces (APIs). This year, in addition to expanding its APIs, the firm took the “open and flexible” concept a step further, unbundling data components to allow clients to “plug & play” various FactSet modules into other third-party systems in order to shape data and design around their own workflows. The firm also launched a specialized dashboard for wealth advisors to customize analytics to their books of business.

FactSet advisor dashboard, credit FactSet Research Systems

FactSet’s overarching obsession is making existing products faster with more reliable data. In the future, that means prioritizing the delivery of updates, increasing what it calls its “content refinery,” and enhancing the customer experience. The firm does not have a separate R&D group, rather it connects clients directly with its strategists, product managers, and client specialists to develop new products and innovate processes. As a result, this Knowledge Leader’s innovation costs are primarily employee compensation and related personnel expenses. It is this approach to solving problems together with clients, while learning from successes and failures, to which it credits its 90 percent client retention rate.

In 2021, FactSet was recognized with more than 30 industry awards, rankings and reports calling out its leadership in research, risk, performance, trading, wealth management, ESG, and alternatives. With 37 offices in 20 countries, it employs about 11,000 people.

Credit: FactSet Research Systems

As of 6/30/22, FactSet Research Systems was not held in the Knowledge Leaders Strategy.

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