You know the expression “good things come to those who wait”? Well, that’s how I feel about the launch of the new version of our alerts system. In addition to the long standing ability to handle price alerts and periodic price updates, we have now finally added a fantastic news and data benchmark alerting capability. To say I have been looking forward to this release is a massive understatement. Here’s why. About three years ago, we were doing quite a big piece of market research and I set myself the task of interviewing a number of traders, most of whom were FastMarkets subscribers. I was particularly interested in how they worked, what information they used and how they consumed it. One of these meetings turned out to be the eureka moment that sowed the seeds for the new alerts system. Chatting over a beer after having earlier visited his dealing room, the trader – he will I am sure recognise himself if he reads this – made some observations which really resonated.
The first of these was that information consumption is effectively bound by two real life limits; the number of screens a user has and the number of eyes they have – usually two. Subscribing to additional news or analysis services while a good idea in theory (no one has a monopoly of wisdom or insight after all) fails a real world test of these constraints; “which screen do I put them on and how can I pay attention to them when I need first and foremost to keep an eye on the market?”
Recognising this reality, we then discussed how to the square the circle of needing the “right” news – especially when it is breaking and sometimes market moving news – at the same time as not having the time to look for it or monitor it. The answer that suggested itself – perhaps the beer helped – was to have a system that actively alerted the user to exactly the sort of news that they wanted. We discussed how this might work in theory, agreeing that how news was categorised was an important factor in such a system. However assuming that such a system was well constructed and responsibly run, the trader suggested that a single breaking metal news alert once a year that gave a potential advantage would in itself more than justify our annual subscription cost. As you might imagine, I made a note of that last point.
I bumped into him next at the annual LME dinner in London the following year when he asked if we had built it yet. It was frustrating at the time to have to say no, but then again we had hardly been resting on our laurels. Since that first meeting we have designed, built and introduced our third generation ticker plant and data system as well as bringing out our new configurable web delivery platform and our web based in-house editorial system – all in all, a massive achievement The great news however is that our new metals news and data alerts system is now in production and you can read all about it in this white paper.