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Unpacking Nasdaq's Commitment To Fintech Innovation

Unpacking Nasdaq's Commitment To Fintech Innovation

In times of crisis, innovation gains traction.

That's according to Brandon Tepper, the vice president of Americas Sales for Nasdaq Inc’s (NASDAQ: NDAQ) Investment Intelligence business.

Through his various roles at the world’s first electronic stock market, over the last 20 years, Tepper has witnessed innovation firsthand, helping build the fintech brand that's supported firms like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) at their earliest stages.

In a discussion on Tepper’s work building Nasdaq’s Market Intelligence desk, a part of the business that uses market data to help publicly listed companies understand why their stock is trading one way or another — the exec said that the recent financial crisis surrounding the coronavirus pandemic was a boon to the fintech space.

“If you look back to the financial crisis, and some of the individuals that were on Wall Street building solutions, they were out of work looking for jobs and thinking of cool new ways to build things, and so we saw a huge influx of financial information portals, retail brokerages come in,” he said in a reference to the Great Recession.

“We’ve actually seen a very similar thing happen over the last couple of months.”

Fueling The New Wave: With the onset of pandemic restrictions, retail investors hungry for engagement with the outside world fueled an exponential rise in trading activity that’s been tremendously beneficial to Nasdaq’s data business.

Platforms and startups don’t want to get left behind, Tepper said. Instead, they aim to make an impact, looking for better ways to help investors express their educated opinions in the market.

“We are a technology company at the core — everything we do is about solving problems,” the Nasaq vice president said of Nasdaq’s work helping platforms like Robinhood, Webull and eToro amplify their efforts around data delivery and education.

“We’re talking about the new wave of retail brokerages. They want to make data, information, and trading quicker, free and available to everyone.”

Nasdaq’s breadth of product and expertise allowed it to make a significant contribution to the new wave of on-demand finance, at the intersection of access and transparency, Tepper said. 

“We’ve acquired companies like Quandl, which offers core data to individuals who need fundamentals, earnings, ownership information, corporate actions, and alternative data,” Tepper said in a comment on helping fintechs deliver curated content around trending themes.

“Everything from work-from-home, 5G, IoT and robotics, to renewable energy — those are areas that we want to focus on because that’s what investors want to see.”

Investors seek simplicity and ease of use, Tepper said — the ability to open a portfolio, identify trending themes and engage with products and services that allow them to change their exposures in a streamlined, cost-effective manner.

“I like to call us the tent, and as long as there’s buyers and sellers coming into the tent, we will make it super efficient.”

Commitment To More: Alongside the rebranding of its intelligence business, partnerships with firms like the CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME) on the Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index (VOLQ) future, and the acquisition of firms like Verafin, which Nasdaq bought for $2.75 billion on Thursday, Tepper said it is Nasdaq’s mission to evolve and build solutions for emerging problems.

“Today, our clients are agile and more adaptable than ever. They need comprehensive data that’s easily accessible,” he said.

“We provide transparency and access to financial markets across the globe.”

Making it easier to access markets is Nasdaq’s cloud and API methodology that allows B2B clients savings on infrastructure costs, as well as the ability to quickly procure, utilize, and scale data.

“Now, clients sign an online form and they’ve got access to an API 30 minutes later,” Tepper said.

"Especially with the on-demand finance wave, data in the cloud makes it really accessible to hit the mobile device on the fly.”

The pandemic has seen incumbent financial services providers fight against disruption by individuals and startups thinking about new ways to innovate.

Nasdaq is committed to leaving a legacy of progress, Tepper said. 

“It’s not just about selling data and offering a service or product,” he said of working hand-in-hand with startups. “We will go in and do live demonstrations of how the markets work, and educate the engineers who are building all this cool technology.” 


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