Forefront Communications

WatersTechnology: MayStreet Hires Former SEC CAT Advisor as Industry ‘Rethinks’ Market Data Infrastructure

Forefront Communications

Forefront Communications

In June 2020, market data infrastructure provider MayStreet secured $21 million in Series A funding from Next Investors, the private equity arm of Credit Suisse Asset Management. A month later, MayStreet officials told WatersTechnology that the vendor plans to expand its data coverage significantly as it looks to build out its asset class coverage and geographical footprint.

To help with these growth plans moving forward, MayStreet hired Manisha Kimmel as chief policy officer. Because the position is newly created, Kimmel says she will be able to work with the team to define and shape exactly what a “chief policy officer” will mean for MayStreet, but the role has three core components.

First, Kimmel will evaluate the impact of market data regulatory changes on the company’s business model and strategic plans. She will also speak at client and industry conferences and craft comment letters to make sure the vendor is involved in how the industry shapes and considers new rules in the market data complex. Finally, there will be a business development component that will involve her working with clients and prospects, “particularly those within the regulatory communities we work with,” she says.

“One of my biggest hopes was to find a role that would both let me draw upon my previous experience and also allow me to be entrepreneurial—MayStreet satisfies both, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the team,” she says.

Most recently, Kimmel worked at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), serving as senior policy advisor for regulatory reporting, with a focus on the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT). When she was hired at the end of January 2019, the CAT was about to go off the rails, as a week later, Thesys CAT, a subsidiary of Thesys Technologies, was removed as the plan processor. Kimmel was viewed by the industry as a stabilizing force—the person who would serve as the so-called “CAT Tsar.” At the time, sources applauded Kimmel’s appointment, even as uncertainty swirled around the actual building of the complicated system that had suffered a multitude of delays. Last summer, a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the CAT finally came to life.

Naftali Cohen, chief revenue officer at MayStreet, says Kimmel’s experience getting the CAT up and running—which entailed working with the various broker-dealers that would report into the platform—was one of the reasons the vendor felt she would be the best fit for this new role. The company also believed it necessary to create the role as industry participants are struggling with how best—or if—to reform the market data industry.

“Banks, brokers, fund managers, quants, regulators—pretty much everyone from all corners of the industry—are in the process of rethinking their approach to market data software infrastructure,” Cohen says. “We think we are well-positioned to pick up a lot of this business, and given how knowledgeable and well-regarded Manisha is across the industry, we see her as an ideal fit.”

For her part, Kimmel calls the launch of the CAT one of the “biggest highlights” of her career. “There are a lot of moving parts to the CAT,” she says. “It was a challenge to keep things moving in the right direction, but with the help of my colleagues at the SEC and other stakeholders, the CAT is now up and running.” It should also be noted that in November 2019, the SEC appointed MayStreet to run the Market Information Data Analytics System (Midas). MayStreet took over as market data provider for Midas from former Midas operator, Thesys Technologies.

Before serving at the SEC, Kimmel was chief regulatory officer for wealth management at Refinitiv, which she joined in 2015 after 10 years at data industry association Financial Information Forum (FIF), where she was an executive director and then managing director. Prior to FIF, she spent eight years as an industry consultant at Jordan & Jordan, and was a business strategy associate at ADP.

Getting growth goals going

MayStreet was launched in 2012 by Patrick Flannery and Michael Lehr as a way for trading firms to outsource their market data infrastructures. It competes with the likes of Activ Financial, Vela Trading Systems, and Redline Trading Solutions, as well as giants like Refinitiv.

After the funding round last year, the vendor has worked first to build out its fixed-income offering, adding US Treasuries data from interdealer broker BGC’s Fenics Market Data business. MayStreet also signed a deal with BondCliq, a price data provider for corporate bonds, which allows MayStreet to carry its data.

The vendor also aims to expand its equities, futures, and options coverage from major North American and European markets into Asia-Pacific and Latin America, and expects to provide data from more than 225 exchanges and other trading venues worldwide in the future.

“There’s still much more to come, as the efforts of many of our newly hired developers and engineers begin coming to fruition,” Cohen says. “There are other strategic initiatives that we’re excited about—the further buildout of a cloud-based, consolidated managed solution; the full launch of the MayStreet Terminal access point; our excitement about potentially becoming a competing securities information processor (SIP) consolidator; etc.,” all of which the company wants to bring to market over the next 12 to 18 months, he adds.

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