Big Tech has deep pockets, global reach, and a large appetite to grow. With few exceptions, i.e. the very largest groups, exchanges are asset rich and cash poor. This means as their strategies move market data out of the shadows into the forefront of their businesses it presents a challenge as to how to grow, because once their core market of the top two vendors (Bloomberg and Refinitiv) plus top 10 local financial institutions becomes saturated with price data it is challenging to build their business further.

This typically occur when market data business income hits between 12% and 15% of overall revenues.

Big Tech’s recent deals with CME, NASDAQ, S&P Global, LSEG, and Deutsche Börse has exchanges salivating all over the world.


Big Tech is not known for altruism, rather a focus on dollar maximisation, so an understanding of what data sources like the big exchanges, and financial sources bring to the table is useful when deciding an organisation is either a partner or content fodder.

The Cloud providers primarily want to drive premium intensive data consumers (i.e. financial institutions) into their environments for access and processing, then lock them there while simultaneously expanding their reach to wealth management and higher income retail investors. This aligns with the smarter exchanges’ need to break out their information services from existing self-imposed barriers to growth.

The majority of exchanges are going to be extremely disappointed, and if we compare six Tier 1 exchanges, three now partnering with Big Tech, CME, NASDAQ and LSEG and three yet to sign up, CBOE, SIX and HKEx, per our summary data services checklist below the reasons become readily apparent.


  • Data must be proprietary, unique and high value
  • Streaming price data content aimed at investors covering multiple markets and asset classes, must drive global interest
  • Availability of historic data to facilitate analysis
  • Applications and solutions that analyse and process the data within their own Cloud environments
  • These applications and solutions should also be able to process third party datasets which expands the usage cases
  • The ability to eventually create trading environments within the Clouds using exchange’s platforms and venues for execution
  • This is especially attractive to two investor communities

1.Buy-side institutions and

2.Low margin, high volume retail markets in the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere

In the MDG checklist CME, NASDAQ, and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), along with S&P Global and Deutsche Börse tick all the right boxes, and indeed offer more.

Of the remaining three, CBOE meets the criteria and SIX Swiss has potential.

To be brutal, Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing (HKEx) represents the majority of the world’s exchanges, they are presently content fodder. There is no need for Big Tech to enter into such wide ranging agreements with them, other than for driving trading into the Clouds (though this is still significant) because to access their data a consolidated feed from a vendor like Bloomberg, Refinitiv, Activ Financial, will do the trick.


In order to compete, offer something attractive to Big Tech, indeed avoid being marginalised in their own markets smaller exchanges need to evolve and drop legacy thinking.

Big Tech wants to drive repetitive data consumption and value added processing into their Clouds. Streaming market data when combined with analytics and solutions does exactly that. Trading capabilities is the icing on the cake.

It will lock financial institutions into those Clouds because a Bank won’t need to have access to every single Cloud, even if CME resides on Google, their data is available on Microsoft so can delivered, processed, and analysed by LSEG’s services. Equally LSEG’s and by extension Refinitiv if that gets included, can be delivered into an AWS environment which utilises NASDAQ or DBAG’s products, and so on.

Financial market data sources, like exchange’s, are being presented with unique opportunities to build and grow, reach new client universes and deliver a wide range of services through these partnerships. If that helps control costs for existing clients all the better.

Every single data source and exchange has the raw ingredients in place to move up the workflow value chain, however by only delivering price data will relegate many to the status of content fodder.

Keiren Harris 14 March 2023

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