In 2019, Sinara Consultants are celebrating our 30th anniversary. To mark this significant milestone, a series of blog entries look back on some of the events and projects over that time. This entry covers the period leading up to the global financial crash of 2008 and its aftermath.
Towards the end of the year we faced the familiar problem of whether or not to renew the lease on our office. Bermondsey Street was moving up market with a vengeance as evidenced by new restaurants and galleries. So of course rather than face an expensive rent hike, we bit the bullet and bought our own offices just south of Tower Bridge. Sinara finally had a permanent home.
Of more technical interest was the addition of mobile app APIs to our market data platform. Although the previous usage had been for a small number of connections each requesting a significant amount of data we now had to cope with large numbers of potentially unreliable connections. However, the biggest challenge of all was the coding and testing for a variety of devices, in particular the Blackberry whose behaviour (at that time at least) varied subtly from one version to another.
Although 2008 saw the demise of Lehman Brothers amidst the worst global financial crisis for many years, there appeared little impact to Sinara at this stage. 2007 had been one of our best ever years, and this healthy profitability was maintained. Existing agreements were maintained and enough new projects were started to maintain our interest and keep the accountants happy.
One new project of particular note was the provision, in conjunction with the London Stock Exchange, of a hosted early-morning company dividend service which ran successfully for over 10 years. This used our Universal Data Extractor software (UDE), to extract structured dividend information from unstructured company regulatory announcements, for timely supply to subscribers.
Whilst we remained comfortably in the black in 2009, some established market data revenue streams started to decline, although whether this was due to global or local factors was difficult to assess. However, we expanded our activities at the LME with a major project to provide a gateway to their trade matching & clearing systems. This remains today an integral component for disseminating data within the exchange.
The term “consolidated tape” derives in part from the days of mechanical ticker machines whirring away at stockbrokers. Today the term is used for the digital reporting of a security’s price and trade events across multiple exchanges. In 2009, in response to an expansion of trading venues and the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), Sinara incorporated “consolidated tape” into our market data platform.
By now it was clear that Sinara were not immune from the recent global financial crash. One or two established financial names went under with a direct impact on our licence revenue. But despite the gloomy economic outlook, we remained profitable. Just as after the dot-com boom and bust, our model of maximising recurring revenue allowed us to keep the engine ticking over.
We even managed the occasional burst of acceleration. The Equiduct pan-European exchange , one of the the new trading venues encouraged by MiFID, was integrated directly into our market data platform, co-existing with vendor supplied consolidated market data.
We were now comfortably settled into our new home in Bermondsey. Would the future bring a more optimistic outlook? Or were we about to enter the Age of Austerity?