Thomson Reuters has offered concessions in the way it licenses the proprietary Reuters Instrument Codes (RICs) in a bid to settle an EU antitrust investigation.
In 2009 the European Commission opened antitrust proceedings against Thomson Reuters over possible abuse of its dominant market position in the supply of RICs - codes that identify securities and are used by financial institutions to retrieve data from Thomson Reuters' real-time feeds.
The EC argued that the firm could be abusing its dominant position in the market for these consolidated real-time datafeeds by stopping customers from using RICs for retrieving data from alternative providers and mapping them for such a purpose to alternative symbols.
Thomson Reuters has now moved to appease the Commission by agreeing to let customers license RICs for the purpose of switching and to use them for retrieving data from other providers against a license fee. Licenses would be available to interested customers for EEA operations for five years, for a monthly fee based on the number of RIC symbols to be used.
The EC is now asking other market players for comments by 25 January and if the concessions are received favourably, Thomson Reuters' offer could become a legally binding commitment.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission VP in charge of competition policy, says: "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."
In May, the EC settled a similar financial data probe with Standard & Poor's, which agreed to cut the prices it charges for the distribution of International Securities Identification Numbers, following a two-year probe into allegations of abusive pricing and monopoly practices.