Alternative Data Council

Founded in January 2019, the Alternative Data Council is series of working groups and information-sharing forums within FISD. It was created as part of the FISD Executive Committee’s strategic initiative to engage the alternative data community. We establish best practices for the delivery of alternative data to the investment industry and provide opportunities for education, information sharing and networking.

The primary goals of establishing voluntary alternative data standards are to:

  1. Lower costs for the benefit of end clients
  2. Facilitate growth of the industry
  3. Drive adoption of alternative data in the investment process
  4. Promote the ethical use of data

Specifically, this will be achieved by:

  1. Improving data documentation
  2. Raising data quality standards
  3. Unifying data pipeline management
  4. Reducing time spent on data delivery and ingestion
  5. Easier permissions management and authentication
  6. Simplifying vendor due diligence and contracting

The industry is best served by having standards which are:

  1. voluntary, open and shared, instead of proprietary and centralized
  2. Community enabled, instead of relying on a single party
  3. Developer friendly, instead of primarily for non-technical users

From the data consumer perspective:

Buy-side institutions with feedback from vendor FISD members. Click here to download a partial list of contributors. If you would like to be involved in future Alternative Data Council activities, contact Tracey Shumpert

  1. Vendor best practices: guiding vendors on how to best deliver data
  2. Vendor questionnaires and contracts: shared semi-standardized due diligence questionnaires and contracts
  3. Documentation standards: consistent data documentation, similar to API Blueprint
  4. Data definition language: covering data schema, file attributes and quality tests, similar to Frictionless, Intake, Quilt
  5. Issue tracker: transparent tracking of problems and improvement requests
  6. Knowledge base: containing answers/solutions (including code) to commonly asked questions/problems
  7. Authentication provider: defining data access permissions and providing authentication

Tracey Shumpert, Vice President, Membership & Programs, FISD

Created by a buy-side led working group representing the breadth of the alternative data industry:

  1. Data Vendor Tear Sheet Introduction and Data Vendor Tear Sheet — Allows data buyers to quickly understand and assess a dataset.
  2. Compliance Due Diligence Questionnaire — Provides a checklist of critical due diligence questions.
  3. Trial Data Compliance Due Diligence Questionnaire—A shorter checklist appropriate for trial data.
  4. Pre-Initial Meeting Worksheet Introduction and Information Sheet 1.0 — Helps Vendors and Customers prepare for the initial sales discussion.
  5. Web Data Collection Considerations: Introduction — Each topic below outlines issues and recommendations.
    1. Terms of Service (TOS) Considerations
    2. Proxies
    3. Volume Considerations
    4. Robots.txt
    5. Copyright
    6. Privacy
    7. Competition
    8. CAPTCHA
    9. Cease and Desist
  6. A Guide to Alternative Data (Buy-Side Guide)
  7. A Guide to Alternative Data (Buy-Side Guide) Version to Print
  8. Introduction to Trial Agreement
  9. Trial Agreement with MNDA
  10. Best Practice Recommendations on Alternative Data Service Levels, Response Times and Communications Procedures
  11. FISD Data Description Guidelines "DDG" — Helps data vendors apply standard approaches to data documentation. The contents consist of:
    1. A principles overview 
    2. An example of the principles in use with US Patent Data in excel format 
    3. An example of the principles in use with a JSON file. Ask for access.
  12. Alternative Data Identification Factors—An overview of how investment firms determine whether a data set counts as alternative data, and thus whether it is subject to typical alternative data due diligence processes.

New Projects Queue

    • Review of existing Web Data Collection Considerations
    • Key Performance Indicator standards development
    • Ticker/entity mapping guidance
    • Point-in-time guidance
    • Best practices for evaluating risk within individual categories of data.
    • API design best practices and design principles
    • [Your project here] Contact Tracey Shumpert if you have an idea.

To help with adoption of these voluntary standards, participants benefit from an ecosystem of tools and services that are already compliant with all or portions of them. If you would like to be included in the list, contact Tracey Shumpert:

  1. API Blueprint: REST API documentation standards
  2. BEAM: common csv data evaluation
  3. Databolt Pipe: turnkey infrastructure distributing datasets
  4. Eagle Alpha: alternative data platform
  5. Exabel: Alternative Data Analytics Platform
  6. Frictionless: generic schema standards
  7. Intake: library for data packages
  8. Liftr Insights: Hybrid Alternative Data
  9. Neudata: alternative data scouting
  10. M Science: Data driven research & analytics firm
  11. Marbles: library for data unit testing
  12. Sequentum: web data extraction platform
  13. Thinknum: Global Alternative Data Coverage
  14. TickSmith: Enterprise Data Web Store
  15. West Highland Support Services: Market Data Optimization

Click here to access the FISD Alternative Data Council Video Library

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