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Thomson Reuters shakes up data platforms after market profit ‘disappointment’

Major restructure follows performance below expectations

Thomson Reuters has shaken up its data platform portfolio in a major restructure of its Markets division, which provides data and connectivity to traders and large financial institutions.

One of its key financial data provision platforms, Eikon, will be sold as part of an integrated offering and will receive more "robust" development, the company said, after questions were raised on its uptake and its quality.

The market data company's chief executive, Tom Glocer, told investors he was 'disappointed' at the Markets division's performance, in spite of second quarter profits for the division growing 24 percent to $388 million, on the back of revenues up seven percent to $1.9 billion. Urgent action was needed to simplify and improve the business, he said.

Group profits nearly doubled to $833 million, but this was principally due to growth in its professional services division, which provides legal, tax, IP and science data. Thomson Reuters said the Markets performance was below its expectations.

SAP-based Thomson Reuters, which as a group was formed out of a major integration of the two companies that make up its name, will now focus its data platform efforts on two systems: Eikon and Elektron.

Elektron is a high speed data distribution network aimed at providing real time market information to hedge funds, asset managers, banks and anyone else requiring low latency trades. It will retain a prominent position.

But the company has experienced problems with Eikon, the global desktop product for access to its data in which it made over a billion dollars' of development investment.

Thomson Reuters has migrated more than 28,000 customers' desktops to the Eikon system since it was launched in September 2010. But experts have expressed concern at the pace of uptake.

The platform took two years to build, and is aimed at being a single system to support around two hundred Thomson Reuters financial products. In a demonstration to investors before Eikon was launched, Thomson Reuters said the system would be "easy to support and maintain", running on an "open, flexible platform" with easy customisation.

This week, journalists at the Financial Times wrote in a company analysis that in spite of the investment, Eikon had so far "failed to gain traction" and had "received poor reviews". The reasons for this included "poor product integration, cumbersome technology and a fragmented sales effort", they wrote.

Douglas Taylor, managing partner at Burton-Taylor International Consulting, told the newspaper that Eikon was a "fantastic product" but needed "time" to go far. Others highlighted longer term concerns on the division's prospects.

Last week, Devin Wenig, the head of the markets division who was responsible for bringing in Eikon, unexpectedly quit the company with five key members of staff, after reportedly being asked to make faster and more extensive structural changes than planned.

Glocer, confirming the shakeup today, said he had "decided to accelerate the transformation" in Markets after results below expectations. He said he was "confident that these changes will result in improved performance".


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