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The window to the world of financial products

Finanz und Wirtschaft: Saturday, December 18th 2010

The financial portal Cfinancials is now connected to the stocks of 125 markets - already more than 40 000 structured products are available - data and information pure

The website Cfinancials wants to make information about all the world's financial products available to everyone on a single platform at no charge (refer to FuW nr. 50 dated June 30 for more details). It will still take some time before that happens; after all, there are almost ten million products worldwide. However the information provider has just taken another step towards achieving its goal.
At the beginning of December the financial portal connected to 65'000 of the over 700'000 worldwide individual stocks. The titles now available come from 125 markets and cover emerging markets and exotic equities well. The remaining items will be gradually integrated in the coming weeks. According to Michael Heijmeijer, the founder and CEO of Cfinancials, the company is well on schedule: We began with funds, structured products and financial news. Now it is time to include stocks. By the end of 2011 we will also offer access to the remaining product classes such as bonds, options, warrants, hedge funds, private placements, and others.

Broad and deep

In many respects Cfinancials is unique in the world of financial information providers. The breadth and depth of its data offering is enormous. On the one hand, the usual price, risk and performance data (updated daily) is provided. In addition, further information can be queried on a real time basis such as general product information and key company metrics and news.
A query is performed based upon various attributes. Users choose between multiple criteria such as region, market segment, performance, registration location, or investment goal. They can also just perform a text search. The response time is impressive. Heijmeijer: Several of our computer specialists are dedicated solely to improving our online response time. The query results are then displayed in a ranking.
If the query is not performed based upon historical performance or other statistical metrics, then other soft factors play a role in the ranking process. One example of such a factor is the completeness of information about the individual instruments. In this way the system provides incentives for the issuers to provide as detailed product information as possible. Providers can also purchase a ranking - such products are identified accordingly.
The analysis tool allows comparisons between the instruments being reviewed against competitor products and reference indexes at a level of detail that has not, till now, been possible. The key to this capability is cooperation with multiple partners. The financial portal is completely independent and works with data suppliers such as Reginfo, SIX Telekurs, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and others. The user interface is simple and easy to use, in contrast to the interfaces of systems from providers that charge for their use such as Reuters and Bloomberg. Heijmeijer emphasizes: Thanks to Cfinancials everyone can now access the entire product universe. In the future our customers will also be able to share facts and experiences with each other.

Structured products from around the world

The investor also has new information possibilities regarding structured products. At the moment approximately 42'000 are connected; within a year all 500'000 instruments available worldwide will be accessible. The search categories include currency, type of investment product, payout structure, maturity, exchange, and simple text.
Cfinancials has many more products from multiple exchanges compared to the traditional information services from individual exchanges and issuers. In the future even unlisted instruments will be connected. The product attributes visible to the user are diverse. Data fed into the system is validated and potential errors in the term sheets are eliminated. Both exchanges and individual issuers primarily want to present their own products on their platforms. By definition they are more transaction oriented than user friendly. Currently Cfinancials does not provide the risk classification from the Swiss Industry Association SVSP. However, according to Heijmeijer, that information is planned to be included in the next release.
Cfinancials' offering sets a new standard for the definition of transparency regarding financial products. It is suitable for almost everyone: private investors, bank advisors, investment managers and anyone else interested in financial products will find almost everything that they desire.
Only professional traders may find Cfinancials lacking because they are dependent upon real time pricing and transaction volumes. Cfinancials does not provide that type of data (yet). Furthermore, private traders must consider that Cfinancials is solely an information service. Once you have found the right investment product, you must change the platform or go to your bank to make your purchase.
Cfinancials will make an investor happy as well as save them time and effort. However investors must decide for themselves whether a financial product is suitable and appropriate for their individual portfolio.