The legal industry relies on clean, actionable and timely financial intelligence on both public and privately held companies. Private company data is not as readily available as public company data, and while information on publicly held companies is easier to find, there’s a lot more of it to sift through. And resources to obtain reliable financial and business information on any company are costly. For example, the leading research product used within the financial industry—Bloomberg Terminal—costs upwards of $20,000 per year, per terminal.
Fortunately, the typical law firm or business has different financial data requirements than a large investment bank. Your needs may align more closely with many of our clients: to balance financial information requirements with overall spend management goals and budget constraints. LAC Group’s spend management team often gets requests from law library directors and other decision makers to help them assess various news and data services and subscriptions, in order to strike a suitable balance between reliable information and cost management.
For our latest report, we asked legal information professionals to help us assess two leading financial data platforms—Thomson ONE (and its likely replacement, Eikon) from Thomson Reuters and Capital IQ from Standard & Poor’s (S&P).
Our evaluators focused on several important factors, including functionality, user interface, content, costs and specific needs.The goal was to present them both as objectively as possible. The report is intended to provide enough information to help make some initial decisions, including the decision to leverage the different strengths of both.
Thomson Reuters focuses on serving legal professionals, tax professionals and the corporate and financial markets. Thomson ONE, its flagship desktop product, brings together company and financial information with a focus on trading, investing and financial professionals.
The S&P Capital IQ platform (part of the S&P Global Market Intelligence product suite) focuses on global and capital market intelligence, with highly-structured data and analytics tools, market research, benchmarks and indices and credit ratings for financial and investment professionals.
Thomson ONE & Capital IQ product evaluation
In the product overview section of our report, we provide a side-by-side comparison of the following features:
- Individual modules such as news, research, filings, business relationships and investors.
- Third-party analyst reports including real-time access to independent research reports from brokers and other providers.
- Search capabilities for searching, filtering and viewing results.
- Reporting tools and templates with the ability to produce and export reports for advanced modeling and data analysis.
- Mobile access in the form of support for use on a variety of “smart” connected devices.
We also look closely at the features that differentiate the products, whose presence or absence could sway a decision. For example, Thomson ONE’s broad coverage of analysts’ reports is cited by law firm librarians as one of its most compelling features, while a noteworthy aspect of S&P Capital IQ is the large number of search criteria that enable narrowly focused screens of company and financial information and transaction data.
Other criteria that could make a difference when selecting a platform include:
- Depth of analyst research collection.
- Coverage of the private equity market.
- Access to US Securities & Exchange Commission filings prior to the 1996 launch of the EDGAR online system.
- Support of league tables that provide deeper perspective on the key players in an industry or region.
- Ability to save and reuse complex searches.
- Use of standard taxonomy for industry codes.
We also discuss the top three criteria for any product evaluation: user experience, customer support and pricing considerations.
The experience of fellow law librarians and their assessments of the overall usability of each is an invaluable aspect of the report. And while pricing is largely dependent on the number of users and other unique factors, each platform has added dimensions to its pricing model which bear close scrutiny.
Thomson ONE and Capital IQ are only two of many services available to law firms in need of reliable financial intelligence, including alternatives like FactSet and Morningstar. LAC Group’s spend management team specializes in helping law firms and corporations make the most of their information resource investments while identifying ways to reduce unnecessary expenses and redundant resources.
We offer this report and our services as a way for you to identify and assess your information requirements and improve your bargaining position for the purchase and implementation of financial intelligence resources and other research platforms.