Hi, Nikki, glad to have you at Fazzaco. Firstly, happy International Women’s Day. Please explain what your current role at Acuity is and how you got into the financial industry?
I am co-founder and COO of Acuity. I first got into the financial industry after I graduated from University. I began my career working in a pensions administration company near my family home before moving to London to work for a small financial news company before moving into a role with Dow Jones Newswires.
What motivated you to create Acuity and what are your objectives?
Our motivation to start Acuity was two-fold. Firstly, my business partner and I both worked at Dow Jones where we were selling real time news and information to both the institutional and retail broker markets. We saw first hand the effort and investment that went into creating high quality, professional news feeds that traders would rely on for their investment and trading decisions. But we recognised that non professional traders needed help to deriving the same kind of value from the news as their professional counterparts. We wanted to create a news experience for traders in this space but also a more sticky proposition for the providers of the news themselves. We wanted to create an experience that would engage traders as well as giving them the tools to find trading opportunities more quickly and easily.
Secondly, whilst at Dow Jones we were also very fortunate to work on the launch of their Elementised News Feed, a ground-breaking new product that we were selling to hedge funds and institutional banks. We could see that there was an appetite for this kind of product amongst professional and non-professional traders but in order to make it more widely available and useful, it would require alternative delivery methods. This is where the visual aspect of Acuity’s products became so important.
What range of core products and services does Acuity provide? What kind of clients do you target?
We are a news and data technology company. We specialise in news analytics and the creation of alternative data sets. We have a range of products suitable for both retail and institutional clients. Our highly visual products are most suited for the online brokerage market whereas our raw data feeds are available for our professional clients.
Our range of tools include EAs for MT4/5 so that traders can access professional news, sentiment and calendar data all whilst remaining within the brokers’ terminal. We have visual news and calendar tools powered by Dow Jones Newswires and bespoke research terminals where brokers are able to bring all their research tools into one place. But we also design and build many bespoke tools for clients whether that’s for a one off campaign, websites, emails or for a full research terminal where clients can bring all their tools and content into one place.
We noticed that Acuity is shortlisted for 5 awards in 2021 Technical Analyst awards. Congratulations! Could you tell us more about it?
This is the first time we have entered the Technical Analyst Awards so we are delighted to be shortlisted for 5 awards on our first attempt. The panel of judges span a broad range of disciplines in the financial markets so recognition in this way means a lot for a small company, especially for our team who are doing such a fantastic job. We have expanded rapidly in the last 12 months so these awards are a true testament to all their hard work.
Earlier this year you partnered with EuropeFX, what do you expect to achieve from this relationship?
EuropeFX have shown a keen desire to offer their clients something different and embrace the AI revolution. They understand the value of news in the decision making process for traders and have integrated our MT4 Research Terminal in multiple languages. This is a great product to get traders more familiar with news sentiment data and its capabilities. I hope we can expand upon this and start to create some unique content for EuropeFX to help them to differentiate further and bring even more value to their traders.
How is Acuity exploring AI tools and building this into your product suite?
Acuity was founded on AI technology. We use NLP technology to analyse the news on a global scale, 24/7 and use AI to find correlations in the data that can’t be performed by human cognitive power alone. We have a team of data scientists and a collaboration with The Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona.
In today’s financial markets, data is also crucial for effective trading and execution. What is Acuity doing in the data space?
At Acuity we are always looking at the creation of new data sets and what value they can bring independently or when analysed alongside other data sets. We invest a lot of resources into making our data as valuable and useful as it can possibly be, whether that is on data characterisation / number of fields or breadth of data. We have a team of data scientists who continuously research the latest advancements and help to incorporate their findings into our products. We are exploring a number of very exciting new data sets that will augment our existing offering. Some of these will already be familiar whereas some are new. Either way, they will help to bring unique perspectives.
How has your business been performing during the disruption caused by the CONVID-19 virus?
I’m extremely relieved to be able to say that we have been relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis, in fact we have expanded quickly in this time and recruited several new members of staff too. Many of our clients have benefitted from the market volatility which has meant that we have been able to continue as ‘normal’. I appreciate we are one of the lucky ones but we hope that the employment opportunities that we have been able to provide is a positive contribution at such a worrying time for so many.
Can we expect any new products from Acuity in the near future?
Yes! We have a really busy product roadmap and can’t wait to bring these to market. But as well as our own products we also design and build unique products for clients so there will be more of these arriving soon. We built three US Election tools for three different clients last year and we are building several bespoke research terminals and web pages at the moment too. We love these kinds of projects where we can combine clients’ own data and tools with ours to create something truly unique.
This article originally appeared in Fazzaco on March 8th 2021.