At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January, David Craigs business card was a conversation piece: Printed on it is a bar code that when scanned displays his Thomson Reuters Permanent Identifier, or PermID. The New Yorkbased media and information company has created some 200 million such codes for people, legal entities and securities in a drive to automate and secure identification processes in an increasingly digital marketplace. One area where strong identification is currently lacking is the blockchain, which was designed to protect anonymity. We believe that transactions cannot be anonymous in a trusted world, says Craig, 46, president of Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk, which accounts for half of the corporations $12.2 billion in annual revenue. While you might not want the market to know who your counterparty is, you need to know. PermID is being offered to various blockchain and federated-identity initiatives, and is being rolled out on World-Check, Thomson Reuters anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer compliance service. Financial & Risk, the unit Craig has headed since 2011 three years after Thomson Corp.s $17 billion acquisition of Reuters Group has consolidated more than 850 products into some 150 offerings on three flagship platforms: the Eikon desktop, Elektron for data and trading applications, and Accelus for governance, risk and compliance. Weve moved from product to platform, which for us is about a business model, not just a technology play, Craig explains. Under the open platform model, third-party developers and clients can create applications and integrate them into their Eikon terminals. The App Studio, launched in October, is generating a regular flow of new programs from independent software developers in what amounts to an expanding ecosystem for innovation. I really admire these fintech companies that I spend a lot of time with, Craig says. Five men and women in a garage can do a lot at the moment.
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