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TRADERS Q&A: Oliver Albers, Nasdaq

Traders Magazine Online News, October 9, 2018

John D'Antona Jr.

It’s become all about the data.

Research used to drive the equities trading bus but now it’s data – from how to get it to getting it faster and now in the spotlight, what providers are charging for it. Two of the largest providers of market data are exchange operators Nasdaq and NYSE and they are taking a stand against the argument made by some, including certain regulators, that they are charging abnormally inflated amounts for their data feeds.

Just last week, as previously reported by Traders Magazine,the two jointly submitted a comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting again an opportunity to make an oral argument before the Commission on the topic of fees and the cost of data. The request comes as the SEC prepares to release findings of its own data fee inquiries and makes suggestions as to what to do, if anything. The two exchange operators also jointly made a brief case and statement to the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets Brett Redfearn at the 85th Annual Security Traders Association Market Structure conference in Washington D.C. The goal - get their views heard before the SEC’s Access Fee Pilot is initiated, which is sure to reveal much about the nature of data fees and how they impact the trading process.

With all this going on, Traders Magazine got the opportunity to sit down with Oliver Albers, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships for Nasdaq’s Global Information Services, who discussed enhancements for making the U.S. equity markets fairer, more transparent and more competitive.

“Here at Nasdaq, we often say, information is the lifeblood of markets,” began Albers. “That’s especially true in today’s digital era, and it’s not hyperbole. Market data is far more than simply a collection of buy and sell orders communicated on stock-trading platforms. It’s the collection and curation of billions of individual data points that are the essential fuel for the entire market in real time. Competition and innovation have given individual investors access to state-of-the-art analytical tools and market data at little to no cost.”

Traders Magazine: In discussions on market data, we often hear terms like “public data” and “proprietary data.” Can you explain these terms? 

Oliver Albers: What we think of as the “stock market” is actually a fiercely competitive business in which about a dozen different U.S. regulated securities exchanges and dozens of alternative trading systems compete for every order that is placed by an investor, no matter where the stock is listed or who owns it.

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