Nasdaq moves into ‘alternative data’ with Quandl acquisition

Move highlights swelling investor interest in non-traditional trading information

Nasdaq chief executive Adena Friedman, who took over last year, has stepped up the move into fatter-margin, fast-growing areas such as market data and technology.

Nasdaq chief executive Adena Friedman, who took over last year, has stepped up the move into fatter-margin, fast-growing areas such as market data and technology.

 

Nasdaq has acquired one of the biggest “alternative data” platforms, highlighting the swelling investor interest in non-traditional information from satellite images, web-scraping and credit-card purchases and potentially presaging a burst of consolidation in the fragmented industry.

Nasdaq, whose most famous business is its stock exchange, plans to combine the newly-acquired Quandl with the “analytics hub” inside the Nasdaq global information services division – another example of how exchange groups are expanding their business away from traditional services such as listings and moving into fatter-margin, fast-growing areas such as market data and technology.

Nasdaq’s non-trading businesses now account for about three-quarters of its revenues. Chief executive Adena Friedman, who took over last year, has stepped up the charge and last year bought eVestment, another data provider.

Alternative data provide a new revenue stream at a time when exchanges’ use of traditional trading data is under scrutiny. Investment groups, dealers, brokerages and high-frequency traders are rebelling against the rising cost of trading feeds, and the US securities and exchange commission has indicated some concern over the rising prices charged by exchanges.