On 2 March 2023, the FCA published the Findings Report for its Trade Data Review.
The FCA launched the review last year in order to look further at concerns highlighted in the FCA’s call for input on accessing and using wholesale data. These included concerns that a low level of competition was leading to a level and structure of data charges that increases costs, affects investment decisions and limits the efficiency of trading.
The review is a key part of delivering the FCA’s strategic priority to strengthen the UK’s position in global wholesale markets.
The report suggests that, while trade data users can generally access the data they need, which plays an important role in investment activity in the UK, there are also areas where the market does not currently work as effectively as it could in allowing effective competition and innovation.
For example, the report found that:
- Some trading markets are concentrated among a few firms so there is little choice for users not to buy this important data and switching supplier is not an easy option.
- The way data is sold can be complex, making it harder for data users to make informed choices.
- Complexity and limited choice result in additional costs to data users. These are likely to be passed on to UK retail investors and savers.
- Despite rules in place requiring delayed data to be distributed for free, many users end up with little choice but to pay for data.
The FCA is working with the government to develop consolidated tapes, which collect wholesale data across the market and distribute them in single, standardised data feeds. An FCA consultation on proposals for consolidated tapes is expected by summer 2023, with the aim that they will improve the overall cost, quality and accessibility of wholesale data.
In addition, alongside this report, the FCA has launched the Wholesale Data Market Study which will allow the regulator to look in more depth at the impact market data vendors have on wholesale data markets and outcomes for data users and end investors.
The FCA says it is prioritising work in these two areas and will consider the extent to which the issues identified in the review are addressed by the outcome of this further work.