Barchart CEO Mark Haraburda talks recent trends across market data industry

abdelaziz Fathi

The newest edition of the FIA Expo 2022, taking place on 14 and 15 November at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk, aims to bring together the brightest minds in the listed derivatives industry, investors, media outlets, regulators, and online trading fans all under one roof.

In an exclusive interview with FinanceFeeds, Barchart CEO Mark Haraburda discussed recent advancements in the company’s product suite. He also highlighted why they were so eager to attend this expo each year as participants are given the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with industry experts on the latest trends and the latest developments in futures and options trading.

FinanceFeeds Editor in Chief Nikolai Isayev asked Mr. Haraburda about their recent partnership with Money.net. This leading provider of data and analytics platforms has selected Barchart to power their retail and professional products with streaming and historical market data. Nikolai has specifically quoted Money.net as saying they firmly believe that Barchart is “the Gold Standard” for excellence in the highly competitive market data space.

Barchart’s size is an advantage

Well, it’s a great honor to hear that, said Haraburda. The CEO further elaborates that he classifies Barchart as a mid-size market data provider that caters to a wide range of clients from large Fortune 500s to start-ups.

Barchart’s size he says is an advantage, as it allows them to adapt, handle changes and updates easier than larger organizations. It’s easier to push new ideas forward and execute on them, helping capitalize on opportunities.

“That gives us the chance to really compete with both the large data providers and small competitors. We’ve carved out a nice space for us to exist and grow, where we cater to clients that are in both of those categories. Sometimes it is harder to get into larger corporations with legacy solutions, but once we do, we tend to grow very well with them, and they keep coming back to us for business. These firms value our deep market data knowledge, technology and our ability to execute on-time and on budget.”

Delving further into Barchart’s offering specifics, Haraburda pointed out that they have long taken advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, including scalability, faster development speed and lower fixed upfront costs.

Nevertheless, Haraburda explained that while the company embraces the cloud it also maintains a physical data center for specific client needs. Having both a physical presence and a cloud-based environment gives their customers the benefit of both models, he says.

“Embracing a cloud-based approach helped us adapt and move on new technologies quicker. We’re never stuck with a lot of legacy infrastructure, so when you move to the cloud, you could do things quickly. But the key point is that we own and build our own software. And we’re completely vertically integrated from our connectivity to the exchanges and our feed handlers, down to our API’s and applications. So that has given us quite a bit of expertise.”

An interesting topic we discussed with Mark Haraburda was how does Barchart balance the retail and institutional verticals?

‎“Okay, so a lot of people know Barchart.com as a financial media platform. And that’s our retail side. You go there as an individual user to look up quotes, charts and market news. Use financial tools, like screeners and watchlists or set up alerts. What happens though, is that we want to make sure people that visit Barchart.com also understand the solutions we have for businesses. And that’s the institutional side of our business, data and software solutions, which is a little bit larger than the retail side.”

Haraburda further explained how Barchart.com has expanded dramatically over the past 25 years when it started out as a technical analysis and charting website, and has since evolved into a financial portal with a worldwide community of users ranging from small investors to institutional users.

“If you went back 15 years ago, we had no news. You would go to Barchart.com to browse quotes or get analytics, but there was no news content. So we started adding the major sources like AP, then we established relationships with other newswires to add more information that was relevant to our users. We also expanded the markets we covered like extending into Europe and Australia.”

Now, Haraburda continues, the diversification of their retail service covers everything from news and charting to financial tools like options screeners and alerting services.

“As we became a bigger and a little bit more mainstream of a financial media platform, it was clear that we needed to produce some of our own content that we could also syndicate to news aggregators, like Google News. We continue to add more and more of our own news content, covering stocks, options, commodities and other topics.”

Haraburda also highlighted that Barchart has become a commodity data and technology leader trusted by over 600 agribusinesses representing over 2,000 grain facilities. As he states, Barchart’s producer-facing (farmer) mobile apps connect producers and grain buyers to unlock more efficiency for agribusinesses and grain merchandising workflows. Haraburda shared that commodity markets and commodity data have always been a core component of their business given their roots in Chicago.

Barchart’s ecosystem for the agriculture industry includes a trading and analytics platform for commodities and a recent innovation that enables agribusinesses to automate hedging for physical grain. More broadly, the offering is connected across the grain supply chain, including to farmers who are able to submit offers via Barchart’s elevator-branded mobile apps, as well as to grain accounting and ERP providers for managing contracts, tickets and positions; and to futures brokerage firms and exchanges for execution and clearing.

We also asked Haraburda if there is a large variance in market data pricing between wholesale market data buyers.

A recent study found that these inconsistencies continue throughout the industry’s pricing, posing significant challenges for market data consumers, who need to navigate a lack of transparency around pricing and the availability of viable alternatives.

Haraburda explained that Barchart’s pricing is based on many different factors ranging from the frequency of market data required, like real-time, end-of-day or historical, to the markets required, delivery and connectivity options, to the use case.

“We have clients in many different industries, from commodities to financial services to retail to professional individuals. How people and businesses want to connect or consume market data can differ vastly. Also, the data you require differs, whether it’s low latency, real-time, delayed or historical. That impacts our pricing. We are a flexible firm and easy to work with, our clients like that.”

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