Cheap Alternatives to Bloomberg?

toddlerPM's picture
Rank: Chimp | 9

I'm interviewing for a portfolio management role at an entrepreneurial firm with a large capital float that they use to collateralize their primary business. Had the second round yesterday; it went very well. I don't know if they'll pick me (it's down to two candidates). There are *ton* of risks with taking the job, but I think it might be too sexy to pass up, so I'm leaning towards saying yes if they pick me. One concern I have regards research platforms - I highly doubt they are aware of what Bloomberg or Factset is, and I don't want to demand that they shell out $25k/yr for a subscription while I'm negotiating salary.

I do need data though if I'm to manage this portfolio. I want to be able to quickly access historical yield curves, equity prices, relative valuation, equity financials, would love to have the sell-side view on specific equities, etc etc etc. These are things I have access to at my current firm and I would hate to part with them. Are there any sites / platforms that offer slices of Bloomberg functionality for a slice of the Bloomberg price? I am hoping to cobble together an acceptable set of subscriptions for a couple grand / yr and let them know I'd need it.

Comments (14)

Jun 22, 2013

Is Factset really as pricy as Bloomberg?

Jul 15, 2017

Bloomberg is one, all-in price for the service, $2k/mo from what I hear. This includes everything except certain third party feeds that they don't own the rights to. (Think S&P, MSCI, FTSE indexes, etc.) FactSet is a la carte. The base program is significantly cheaper than Bloomberg, but there are a significant number of add-in modules that carry significant extra cost. I think the annual bill for my FactSet services is higher than the one for my terminal.

Simple rule of thumb in AM:
-Bloomberg is for the traders. It provides the fastest data and the best news. If you need something RIGHT NOW it has to be Bloomberg.
-FactSet is for the researchers. It provides the most customization and the most robust backtesting tools, but it is SLOW. Even generating data that would take two seconds in Bloomberg take long enough for you to get a cup of coffee in FactSet.
-Morningstar Direct is for the wholesalers. it allows easy and reliable comparison of products in a pretty, sales friendly product.

Oddly, I have access to all three.

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Jun 22, 2013

Not sure if its as pricey as BBG but definitely on the high end - more than USD 10k and perhaps closer to 20k

Jun 22, 2013

Capital IQ offers fundamental equity stuff, Yield Book offers fixed income stuff. Sell-side stuff you can get signed on directly from them for free assuming you have a sales contact. Reuters I think offers some things a la carte. A good amount of this data is also publicly available, though some is indeed only disseminated through large data vendors like Bloomberg, Reuters, Factset, etc.

But yeah, try to get a Bloomberg. I think it's worth it if you're in any kind of investment role. Bloomberg Anywhere and Bloomberg Terminal are both the same annual price I believe, but the terminal is able to be shared so everyone in your office would be able to use it and it wouldn't just be for you.

Jun 22, 2013

How do you go about getting sales contacts? Is it just "I'd like you to buy X for me, oh btw can I get all your research reports?"

The investment division at this place would literally be just me, so I'd have to figure out all the nitty gritty detail myself and I can't expect others to know the value of what I ask for unless I can pitch it to them.

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Jun 22, 2013

You'll naturally get acquainted with sales contacts of a sell side shop if you have any kind of relationship with them. Trading with the shop should suffice, basically any scenario where they do get or can potentially get money from you in some fashion. You would just ask them for a login to their research portal.

Jun 22, 2013

XLQ is a nice tool to get historical price data in excel

Jul 14, 2017

You should try Sentieo. It fills most of the equity functionality that Bloomberg does, but is much cheaper. All of the data is sourced directly from Thomson Reuters and Factset, and includes I/B/E/S estimates.

I've found it to be a more modern take on equity analysis than Bloomberg. It is cloud based, so it has been easy for me to access it on the go. It also feels like a modern piece of software as well. The user interface is vastly improved, and it's much easier to navigate.

I'm a big fan of Sentieo's document search as well. This in particular is its most distinguishing feature. I'm able to search through millions of SEC filings, international filings, broker research, transcripts and presentations.

Where Sentieo comes up short is outside of equities. I don't think it has any data yet for fixed income or FX. However, for a fundamental equity analyst, I haven't come across a better value proposition yet.

    • 1
Jul 15, 2017

money . net sucks

Best Response
Jul 17, 2017

I can only offer my opinion on Factset vs Bloomberg. We're currently switching from Bloomberg to Factset. Originally it started as we were going to Factset because their performance reporting and portfolio analytics were better, but I think we're moving over because it is cheaper.

I don't have any direct insight into the costs (been told Factset is significantly cheaper) but I'll say this about Factset, if you've never experienced Bloomberg its fine. But when you look at it on a relative basis it sucks. Bloomberg is the gold standard and is just better in almost every facet with exception to the portfolio analytics, which I agree Factset seems to be better. I'll give you one fresh example: Both offer supply chain breakdowns but if Bloomberg has 20 suppliers listed, Factset will have 7 for the same company. I find things like that more and more as I go through Factset and our tech guy said one company he was looking at had the wrong company's segment data linked up. If I were running a shop there's no question I would want my guys on Bloomberg, if I was running a public fund I would feel disadvantaged on any other platform. In my opinion its worth paying the extra. Also, anytime I reach out to the help desks with a question or when they have reps come down to our office, the BB guys just seem way more knowledgeable about the platform than the Factset guys. The Factset guys stumble through the platform the same way I would if I just tried to figure it out myself.

If I were you I would maybe wait until you've been on the job for a little bit and then push for Bloomberg, of the two I've had experience with, its just so much better.

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Jul 17, 2017

They might be taking away my Bloomberg terminal at work sigh. Good thing I am probably moving on from this position.

Jul 31, 2017

I have used Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters Eikon, and Morningstar direct. I will say that Bloomberg is definitely superior as a whole. It is 2k a month including almost everything. Eikon is about $1250 a month I believe but as you add on features it can easily get over 2k. Morningstar direct for Asset Management at least is a decent option and I believe around $800 a month. It depends what you need it for as to which option would be necessary in my opinion.

Aug 1, 2017

Another major data point recently: We've loaded many of our portfolios into FactSet for comparison to their benchmark. FactSet has obviously, and exponentially wrong P/S data on several MAJOR S&P indexes (-400, -600) in older years. Why are we paying for data if we need to QC some of the biggest indexes ourselves?

Aug 5, 2017