Finanz und Wirtschaft: Saturday, March 12th 2011
Transparency in financial products and independent information are a valuable commodity. As the high value of a commodity is determined by its low availability, I can conclude that transparency and independence are rare - in economic jargon, short. The derivation works conversely as well, and the reality confirms the theory.
That is why for almost a year now I have been closely following the success of the Swiss financial portal Cfinancials, which wants to make information on all financial products available worldwide to everybody and for free. I've already reported on this.
Jumping on the bandwagon
The website is top-notch, and I use it regularly to respond to requests, conduct research or manage my own portfolio. What I find there can't be found anywhere else, in terms of selection, quality or speed.
The newest activities of Cfinancials cover, among other things, the launch of 1.4 million fact sheets, prospectuses and business reports. Bombay Stock Exchange - and Shanghai too - have recently started a direct data feed. This way Cfinancials has direct links to issuers. Over 65 stock markets worldwide make all their data available to the financial service provider.
The cooperation with Reginfo, SIX Telekurs, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and others is seamless, and new partners join weekly. Just a year ago, founder and CEO of Cfinancials Michael Heijmeijer had to convince data providers of his visionary concept. Now they all want to be part of the story.
Code instead of ISIN
In February, 2,000 users a day averaged 600,000 products viewed. The site has already racked up over one million click-throughs to the instruments. It appears that I'm not the only one who has taken a shine to this concept. Free access to all product-relevant information as well as the ability to perform any conceivable comparison and analysis is fascinating. It's not only private individuals who use the platform. The number of banks and fund managers for whom Cfinancials creates customized reporting for a fee is burgeoning. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before an issuer launches (structured) products based on the data of the financial portal and/or on the best global funds from the previous year.
I'm also very pleased with the latest coup from Cfinancials: an introduction to a new worldwide standard (ISO 900) that allows certification on product identification. Instead of the system-driven ISIN, Valoren number and other, each instrument should receive an intelligent code. Since Cfinancials has close to 10 million products in its database - connection of the various product categories for the public is being done gradually - it is technically feasible. The alphanumeric identification is self-explanatory and shows the asset category, issuer, currency, domicile, etc.
My tip to client advisors: Be careful not to become redundant! My advice to investors: www.cfinancials.com.