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EU to test Thomson Reuters' RICs commitments

The European Commission is asking for comments from other market players on commitments offered by Thomson Reuters to address concerns that it is abusing its market position in real-time data feeds.

“The commitments proposed by Thomson Reuters should allow financial institutions to switch more easily between different providers of financial data and stimulate competition between data vendors,” competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement on Wednesday.

Thomson Reuters offered to allow customers to licence additional usage rights for Reuters Instrument Codes and to provide them with the information needed to cross-reference RICs with other data, the commission said. The codes identify securities used by financial institutions to retrieve data from real-time data feeds.

The European Commission opened an investigation into the codes in 2009, saying customers may potentially be locked-in to working with the company because replacing the codes required “a long and costly procedure” to rewrite or reconfigure software applications.

The commission was concerned that Thomson Reuters was abusing its dominant market position “by prohibiting customers from using RICs for retrieving data from alternative providers and mapping them for such a purpose to alternative symbols,” the commission said. ■

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