From its start in 1982, Bloomberg was “an instrument for change” in bond trading, Thomas Secunda says. The fact that “Bloomberg brought transparency to very opaque markets,” blazing a trail toward improved price discovery and efficient trading in one type of instrument after another, is one of the accomplishments that makes Secunda, co-founder and vice chairman of the New York–based financial information company, most proud. But the growth, product proliferation and acceleration in the markets and the data volumes they generate have in a sense turned back the clock. “The overflow of information has created new problems with opacity,” Secunda observes. Even users of the Bloomberg Professional terminal network, which has more than 320,000 subscribers around the world, will say: “There is so much here. How can I find what I’m looking for?”
Bloomberg’s 3,000-plus technologists, led by Secunda, whose responsibilities as global head of financial products and services include Bloomberg Professional, are on the case. Harnessing what the 60-year-old describes as “a combination of human intelligence, domain knowledge, natural language processing and machine learning,” they are on a constant quest to simplify navigation and searchability. Historically, to get the most out of the terminal, users needed to understand its intricacies. Secunda wants the platform also to serve nonexperts — or anyone just seeking a quick answer. “We’re trying to have the machine eat the complications,” he says.
Simplification is also on offer from Bloomberg’s $1 billion enterprise business: technology, platform and data management services that Secunda says can save customers significant amounts while generating new revenue for Bloomberg. The return to the firm this year of founder Michael Bloomberg after 12 years as mayor of New York City “has increased our energy level and excitement,” Secunda notes. “He is going to push us. He is a big fan of things being intuitive.”