Financial data providers are a key part of a finance professional’s workflow. For the investment banking analyst who needs to find historical data and forecasts to build a 3-statement model or for the currency trader looking for real-time quotes, having access to up-to-date and accurate financial data is critical.
As it currently stands, the financial data industry is dominated by 4 large providers:
- S&P Capital IQ
- Refinitiv Eikon (Subsidiary of London Stock Exchange Group, Formerly Thomson Reuters)
All four attempt to offer a one-stop-shop platform that provides all types of financial data services (with a massive price tag, as you’ll see below).
The goal of this article is to provide a thorough comparison of cost, industry relevance (buy-side vs. sell-side), and apps and features that might push users to favor one data provider over another.
Price Comparison at a Glance
|Platform||Pricing||Market Share (1)|
|Bloomberg||The cost of a Bloomberg Terminal is $27,660/year for one license, and terminals are leased on a two-year basis. The price drops to $24,240 per terminal per year for two or more terminals. See below for academic pricing.||33.4%|
|Capital IQ||The cost of Capital IQ is not published publicly, as the pricing model is tier-based and tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer.
The lack of transparency around Capital IQ’s pricing stems from their product offerings being customized solutions for the customer profile and specific use-cases.
|FactSet||The cost of a FactSet subscription is $12,000 per year for the full product.||4.5%|
|Refinitiv Eikon||The cost of Eikon is $22,000 per year, but a stripped-down version can cost as little as $3,600 per year.||19.6%|
(1) Source: Burton-Taylor International Consulting 2020 Financial Market Data Report
Bloomberg is the 800-pound gorilla in the financial data world, with financial data revenue of approximately $10+ billion. It controls more than ~33% of the financial data market. Its closest rival is Refinitiv Eikon, with ~20% of the market share.
The cost of a Bloomberg Terminal is $27,660 per year, and terminals are leased on a two-year basis. The price drops to $24,240 per terminal per year for 2 or more terminals.
Academic discounts: For universities looking to power their finance labs with the famous terminals, Bloomberg offers significant incentives. For example, once schools commit to 3 terminals, they can get nine additional machines for free, dropping the total per-terminal cost to as little as $3,000 per year.
Bloomberg is best for …
Buy-side, sales and trading, and asset management. While the Bloomberg terminal is used across the financial services world, it is used predominantly by portfolio managers, buy-side analysts, and sell-side finance professionals within the sales and trading, and asset management functions.
You absolutely have to go with Bloomberg if …
You’re in any way involved in the bond market. Bloomberg’s fixed income data is second to none. Its data sets are more comprehensive and are updated more quickly than any of its peers, making it especially useful for credit research analysts, fixed income sales and bond traders, and professionals in debt capital markets.
Then there’s Bloomberg’s instant messaging service — one of Bloomberg’s arguably stickiest features. Bloomberg’s IM service allows anyone on the terminal to IM with others on the terminal. Why is this exciting? Because if traders at all the trading desks are posting quotes on Bloomberg IM and nowhere else, you simply have to be on Bloomberg. It’s basically the same reason you’re on Facebook and not on MySpace.
This is a sticky feature for Bloomberg as it faces competition from the Eikon platform and chat-only startup alternative Symphony. In an effort to kill Symphony, in October of 2017 Bloomberg surprised many observers by decoupling IM from the rest of the terminal license. It now charges $10 per month for IM only (your company has to own at least one terminal to be able to get this service for additional users).
You could probably live without Bloomberg if …
You’re in investment banking. Investment bankers do not use Bloomberg as widely as some of their sell-side peers and buy-side professionals. For example, the M&A team at an investment bank might have a couple of Bloomberg Terminals available, but it’s unlikely that each banker will have their own machine.
Instead, investment bankers are far more likely to have their own dedicated FactSet or Capital IQ subscription. That’s because Capital IQ and FactSet have developed specific capabilities such as a click-through function to audit data in source documents, Excel plugins that increase productivity, and company and transaction screening tools designed specifically with the investment banking workflow in mind (more on this below).
Capital IQ was founded in 1998 and was acquired by McGraw Hill’s S&P division for $200 million in 2004.
Unlike Bloomberg or FactSet, Capital IQ is a web-based portal accessible from any machine.
The Capital IQ offering was strengthened further in July 2015 with McGraw Hill’s $2.2 billion purchase of rival SNL. While Capital IQ and its largest rival FactSet provide financial data across all sectors, SNL’s strength has been unparalleled financial and transaction data sets within specific sectors, namely insurance, banking, real estate, energy, metals and mining, and media.
While S&P does not disclose Capital IQ and SNL revenue separately from its other data products within the “Markets and Commodities Intelligence” segment, it’s likely that Capital IQ and SNL represent the vast majority of the segment’s $2.2 billion in subscription revenue.
Interesting overview, just a quick note on FactSet, FactSet does nowadays offer access to its applications through a (not locally installed) weblink and a mobile app. Makes for easier access for some users indeed.
As a non-US individual investor, I used Bloomberg for like six years and finally quit as I was fed up with their arrogance. Any complaints and they respond with (Goldman Sacks) having 2000 terminals and they’re like “who are you to talk with one subscription?” This happening not because I… Read more »
Bloomberg is the go to for fixed income, without a shadow of doubt. But for Portfolio Managers and buy side analysts, FactSet is the tool. Firstly, $12,000 is the very basic price, which doesn’t actually give you a lot, it’s their entry level price. To get the full range of… Read more »
As of 2020 you would use : BBG – Fixed Income and OTC; Trading CiQ – as reported historical financials (PE/VC , partly used in M&A) TR – Treasury, News, Datafeeds (core data), Prices Corporate Actions FDS – Research, Analysis, Attribution, Multi Asset PM and Risk, Screening, Backtesting, Excel, Alternative… Read more »
Excellent comparison – a lot of work went into this study. I am interested in the time (i.e number of days) it takes to post fundamental company data (i.e. balance sheet, income statement, sources of capital, etc.) following the release of the data by the company. Does anyone have comparative… Read more »
Hey, I new to the Industry, and without hands on any of these it would be difficult to break into the Industry. How can a newbie learn any 1 of them to get a break or can get even an internship somehow.
I am wondering where you get this prices from… I just received a proposal from BBG and it does not match your numbers :-/
good topic. i work on bloomberg
Bloomberg PricingThe cost of a Bloomberg Terminal is $24,000 per year, and terminals are leased on a two-year basis. The price drops to $20,000 per terminal per year for 2 or more terminals. Academic discounts: For universities looking to power their finance labs with the famous terminals, Bloomberg offers significant incentives. For… Read more »
FactSet offers a nice package for Law Firms and the Legal Professionals.
Great article. I think Dealogic must be mentioned as it’s the largest M&A, ECM, DCM database in the market, plus their parent company (ION) just acquired Acuris (owner of Mergermarket, Debtwire, etc). Any idea of the Alternative Investments Data Market size? Trying to estimate a size for the market, players… Read more »
Certainly these 4 are great global solutions. There are more that are geo-focus such as Teaser Platform which concentrates on MENA region specifically.
Anyone know which might be best simply for market prices? I need futures, options on futures and fixed income prices (or yields, or both) for popular issues (mainly govt, some benchmark commercial).
Good comparison. Any idea on Evaluatepharma, Globaldata and any other sector-based datasources? I guess these are sector-specific, but would be interesting to know their pricing.
Hi, I’m interested in purchasing an annual subscription that provides equity research access (GS, JPM, etc.). I’ve read through the above, but can’t determine which one would be best for my needs there. Can anyone chime in? Thanks!
Excellent Article. Alpha Vee’s terminal is also a notable one to mention for Equity buy side work
Hi. How up to date is your pricing? The reason I’m asking is because I can’t seem to find the USD 3,600 a year Thomson Reuters Eikon offering. Lowest I hear is around 6000 a year
Good topic about the Market data providers, am feeling proud to worked with S&P Global(Capital IQ)…
what would be a feature that should be in capital IQ pro which is lacking big time any guess?
recommendations for JSE equity market?
In 95% of the cases I am only looking for valuation comps of previous transactions, listed comparables, sector comps etc for my specific client. I don’t need share prices, analyst research, data feed, news, etc. What would you guys recommend of the above, and would maybe mergermarket or Zephyr from… Read more »
Is there any comparison between Capital IQ, FactSet and EquityRT. I assume that all of them are good for equity research, but was wondering if all bases (Sell side, Buy side & asset management) are covered, which would be the most effective platform? I know all of them have a… Read more »
How does Marketmap by FIS Global compare against the other data terminals?
Also, Metisglobal has not been compared. And I wonder why it is quite popular in Pakistan – definitely after bloomberg.
Please compare them from the perspective of sell-side equity research professionals.
Good comparison in terms of pricing info & product offerings. I worked with S&P Capital IQ.