Dash: Bloomberg Indexes To Fill Global Void

June 13, 2013

Index provider takes aim at the fixed-income, currencies and commodities markets.

Srikant Dash is the head of Bloomberg Indexes, which provides global indexes for the fixed-income, currency and commodity markets. Based in New York, he is responsible for all initiatives and strategy related to Bloomberg’s index business. Prior to joining Bloomberg in 2012, Dash was at S&P Indices, where he was responsible for the firm’s global research and development, and led the development of new indexes across asset classes underlying more than $75 billion in assets. He is a published author and frequent reviewer for industry publications. IndexUniverse’s Editor-in-Chief Drew Voros recently spoke with Dash on the firm’s new indexes and initiatives in the fixed-income, currency and commodity markets.

IndexUniverse: What is Bloomberg’s long-term strategic vision here in the index space?

Srikant Dash: Bloomberg has been providing information on indexes on fixed income, currencies and commodities for decades now. It has tremendous reach in the institutional and retail markets with our terminals, television properties and so on. What we are doing now is pulling together those resources under the umbrella of Bloomberg Indexes to deliver what we think is the first truly global, truly independent index business focused on fixed income, currencies and commodities.

IU: What can you bring to the market that isn’t already here?

Dash: Really simple, but important things. First, think about fixed-income markets. They’re probably twice the size of equity markets. There’s not a single, independent global benchmark in that space. In the face of Libor and the financial crisis, it becomes even more important that benchmarks for these OTC markets are truly independent and truly transparent.

No. 2, it is important to have index data that is broadly available. We call it “data democracy.” Right now there are restrictions on the buy side’s ability to send one dealer’s benchmark to another dealer to get a best execution and compare quotes.

For example, a trader may say, “I want to buy $100 million of this index. Give me the best quote.” They are unable to do that now. Our information is free to our more than 315,000 subscribers, which includes most participants on the fixed-income buy side and sell side. There are no restrictions on access to our benchmark constituents and pricing. The third thing is seamless integration of benchmarks with all sorts of index analytics.

And then finally, not only is Bloomberg a big data and analytics company, but Bloomberg Indexes can also leverage Bloomberg’s remarkable distribution via its media properties and its terminals. Bloomberg is one of the biggest financial media companies in the world, with a distribution that leads us into high-net-worth and financial advisor audiences. We can offer something that’s really different from what you can see in the market.

IU: Do you envision selling this to ETF issuers? Or would you some day be in the market of creating your own ETFs?

Dash: No, we cannot be in the business of creating investment products. We will be having all sorts of indexed product issuers, such as structured product issuers, ETF sponsors, as well as portfolio managers. People oftentimes forget that the biggest users—and some of the biggest consumers in terms of revenues for index data—are long-only portfolio managers who are not indexed.

So we really look at the entire spectrum of index users from people who create indexing products to people who are trading or investing in markets where there is indexing as benchmarks. And for all of them, it’s really important to have truly transparent, independent benchmarks in these important OTC markets. And that doesn’t exist now.


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