Orbis: Analysis of Global Financial Disclosure Rates

Orbis Coverage Table
Orbis Coverage Table

I came across an interesting analysis of financial disclosure rates by regions around the world.  The blog, written by Mark Bodnar, a librarian at Simon Fraser University (British Colombia), observed limited financial disclosure in North America and much of AsiaPac, but broader financial availability in Europe.

Of the 18 million North American companies covered, only about 35,000 have detailed financials.  That’s about 0.19%. Those would be from the relatively rare cohort of publicly traded companies we mentioned earlier.  The other 99.81% of the companies are privately held, and in North America that means that they are under almost no obligation to reveal their financials.

Compare that to Western Europe, where about 10 million of their 30 million companies in the database have detailed financials…

Oceania (incorporating AUS, NZ, and many wonderful island nations) is also down around 0.2%, largely because there are detailed financials for only about 0.15% of the companies based in the biggest country in the region, Australia.

While none of this would be a surprise to people in the business information sector, it was a good way to surface the information for students and non-experts.  European countries have a long history of requiring non-public (aka non-quoted or non-listed) companies to publicly file annual returns.  The depth of filing varies by country and size of company, but Europe has a deep set of financials available to assist with credit and supplier risk analysis, prospecting, company research, KYC/AML, and market analytics.

In the US, disclosure is limited to public companies, non-profits, and financial services companies.  Of these, only public company financials, which are filed via EDGAR (SEC), are fully transparent with few accessing state insurance filings, IRS 990 filings (non-profits), or the FDIC (banks).

I would take the author’s analysis of countries with deepest coverage of financials with a grain of salt.  It is likely that many of the countries with the highest disclosure rates have limited coverage of companies not subject to financial disclosure.  Furthermore, some of the filing regimes do not require financials for smaller companies.

 

 

 

Bureau van Dijk Orbis Enhancements

Bureau van Dijk announced a series of enhancements to their Orbis company research and financial analysis platform.  New or enhanced features include financial transparency, customization, batch search, improved navigation, expanded searching, and the addition of Moody’s research.

As ever, we’re creating, incorporating and rolling out features and functionality on the new Orbis interface all the time.  Each enhancement is intended to help make sure that you can take full advantage of our rich, structured data in order to carry out your research processes as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  • Bureau van Dijk CMO Louise Green

Bureau van Dijk added custom variables that are available in books (reports), chapters, an searches.  Users may also create custom books and chapters.

BvD Orbis improved-navigation-of-booksUI enhancements include improved book navigation so that users can move between chapters more easily; batch searching of company names by pasting a list of company names into the name search; expanded searching of ownership structures; free-text searching of notes; and enhanced viewing and filtering of corporate directors and advisors.  Directors are now sorted by department and filterable by role, seniority, and data source.

Users can now click on financial values to see the underlying calculations.

New premium content includes research from Moody’s Analytics spanning 9,000 company and 7,500 industry reports.  Both public and private companies and banks are covered.  The reports may be purchased using BvD credits on a pay-per-view basis.  In September, Moody’s rating announcements will be added to the service.  Other company research sources include MarketLine, Morningstar, and GlobalData.  MarketLine also provides industry market research to Bureau van Dijk products.

Finally, Bureau van Dijk added a new tax explorer premium service which flags “entities in low-tax jurisdictions.”

Bureau van Dijk also released a set of enhancements in April including original documents from aRMadillo.


Moody’s is in the midst of acquiring Bureau van Dijk.  The transaction is expected to close this month.  Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel said he “looks forward to further extending Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The firm has already received EU Merger Regulation approval from the European Commission.

Bureau van Dijk Document Retrieval (aRMadillo)

Orbis provides global original filings.
Orbis provides original filings from 200 countries.

Earlier this quarter, Bureau van Dijk announced that it integrated aRMadillo’s original document ordering system into their Orbis platform.  Documents are available from over 1,000 registries spanning 200 countries.

Original document research is important for compliance, legal, and anti-corruption research. Sourcing original images from official registries helps safeguard against forgeries.

Registered filings include

  • Registry extracts
  • Incorporation documents
  • Articles of association
  • Accounts
  • Annual returns
  • Directors’ appointments
  • Shareholder
  • Registered agents

“All of our documents are sourced directly from official sources – where they physically scan the original documents – so you can be sure of their provenance,”  said aRMadillo CEO Manny Cohen.

While filing is centralized in the UK (Companies House), it is split across fifty states in the US, 32 jurisdictions in Mexico, and 28 in Brazil.  “People assume that because it’s so simple here [in the UK], it must be as easy elsewhere,” said Medina. “It isn’t.”

Quora: How do I obtain the necessary information for a B2B competitive analysis?

I answered the above question on Quora, but I thought it was worth posting the answer on my blog as well.

B2B is a broad category, so I will be providing a high-level process:

  • Start with the open web — the company website, corporate blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.
  • Jump to the LinkedIn and Twitter pages of key executives.
  • Continue with third-party review sites such as TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Glass Door, and Quora. Also compare web (Alexa, SimilarWeb) and social media activity (Owler) of the company vs. its top competitors.
  • If a US public company, obtain their 10-K, 10-Q, Annual Report, Proxy, and 8-Ks. Also, review all material on their investor page and look for Fair Disclosure Earnings Transcripts (Seeking Alpha, NASDAQ), investor presentations, financial models, etc.
  • If a US or global public, analyst reports are often available subject to a one week embargo. Vendors with analyst reports include D&B Hoovers, Factiva, Zacks, FactSet, Capital IQ, and Investext. Reports with fewer than five pages tend to only look at the stock, and provide little in the way of detail. Particularly good are the Initiating Coverage reports as they often entail an overview of the business.
  • If a US or global public, review the synopsis of material events going back over a decade. Significant Developments are available from Reuters, Factiva (Reuters), D&B Hoovers (Reuters), Capital IQ, and FactSet.
  • If a European private, they are likely to have filed financials, directors, and shareholdings with a local registry. You can obtain these through D&B Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk Orbis, or local registries.
  • Major companies are profiled by MarketLine and Global Data. Check to see if they or key competitors are profiled. Industry vendors also profile companies and products within their target segments.  These profiles include SWOTs, company histories, market shares, and overviews of key products and segments.
  • Determine the firm’s list of competitors. If it is a public company they will list this in a proxy. If it is a private company, refer to Hoovers, Global Data, or Marketline.
  • If you are looking for technology employed, refer to Datanyze, HG Data, BuiltWith, DiscoverOrg, or RainKing.
  • Review all news for the company. The open web thins out quickly, so you are best off using an archival service such as Factiva or LexisNexis
  • For Intellectual Property and Legal, use LexisNexis or Westlaw. You can also search the USPTO site for trademarks and patents.
  • Check research from industry vendors. Most focus on only one or a few sectors (e.g. Gartner, Forrester, and IDC for Hardware and Software). A few provide higher level market overviews at the country or global level which include national or regional market shares, forecasts, and mini-profiles of the top 3-4 competitors in the market:
    • MarketLine (country and global)
    • Euromonitor (country or global)
    • BMI (Emerging Markets)
    • Freedonia (US)
    • IBISWorld (US, China, Australia, Global)
  • A few US industries are required to file with state or federal agencies. These include banks (FDIC), insurance (states), and nonprofits (990 forms with the IRS).
  • Larger companies file ERISA forms (5500s) annually with the Department of Labor. This filing covers benefit plans so is useful for direct research on a company and plan advisors. Judy Diamond offers a freemium service (FreeErisa) for ERISA filings.
  • If the firm has PE or VC funding, refer to Crunchbase, DataFox, Mattermark, PrivCo, or other vendors that collect this detail. Crunchbase and Owler provide this information for free.
  • Setup news alerts on the company and competitor you are evaluating. This can be done via Owler, Contify, InsideView, D&B Hoovers, Factiva, and LexisNexis.
  • Obtain a credit report (D&B, Experian, or local credit company if overseas)
  • Research the company family tree and review major subsidiaries and recent acquisitions. Global Family Trees are available from D&B Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk, and InsideView (parents and subs only). Public companies also list their subsidiaries in their 10-K (Note 21).
  • M&A research can be performed with Zephyr (Bureau van Dijk), Mattermark, FactSet, Capital IQ, and other vendors.

This is a quick overview for secondary research.  For primary research, reach out to customers, partners, and former employees.  They can be identified via Case Studies (generally fans so don’t be overly reliant on them), customer references on site, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd.  Former employees can be determined via LinkedIn.  Partners are generally listed on the company website.

One area that is particularly difficult to obtain is pricing data.  Some B2Bs are transparent while others publish virtually no details, particularly if they have complex product lines and pricing.  Don’t be surprised if you find little in this area beyond “Pricing begins in the five digits” for many vendors.  Pricing details may require primary research and this will provide data points, but not full price lists.

If you are performing regular competitive analysis work, consider joining SCIP (Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals).

Feel free to add additional tips in the comments.

 

Moody’s Acquires Bureau van Dijk

Moody’s announced this morning that they are acquiring business intelligence vendor Bureau van Dijk for €3.0 billion (approximately $3.27 billion). Moody’s stated that “the acquisition extends Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The deal is subject to EU approval and is expected to close in Q3.

Bureau van Dijk will be acquired with approximately $1.3 billion in offshore cash and $2 billion in debt.  Bureau van Dijk will be folded into Moody’s Analytics’ Research, Data & Analytics (RD&A).

Last year, Bureau van Dijk earned $281 million (€258 million) and posted and EBITDA of $144 million (€132 million).  Bureau van Dijk has a ten-year Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR ) of 9.3%.  The firm anticipates $45 million of annual revenue and expense synergies by 2019 and $80 million by 2021.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Bureau van Dijk offers three major product lines:

  • Orbis – Financial analysis tools spanning 220 million companies.  Information includes firmographics, public and private company financials, original documents, global family trees, shareholdings, news, and M&A research (Zephyr).  Orbis provides the deepest set of global private company financial coverage tied to very strong linkage data including minority shareholdings.  Orbis was redesigned last year with a new user interface and workflows.  The Orbis product line is also available as regional and local products such as Amadeus in Europe, Oriana in AsiaPac, and Fame in the UK.
  • Mint – Sales intelligence product line
  • Catalyst – Set of workflow tools for valuation, transfer pricing, credit analysis, wallet sizing, etc.

All three product lines leverage the Orbis global company file which is collected from 160 information partners.

“Bureau van Dijk is a high growth information aggregator and distributor that positions Moody’s at the center of a unique network of global risk data,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “This acquisition provides significant opportunities for Moody’s Analytics to offer complementary products, create new risk solutions and extend its reach to new and evolving market segments.”

The Bureau van Dijk customer base is split fairly evenly across 6,000 financial institutions, professional service firms, government authorities, and corporations.  Key use cases include compliance, KYC/AML, risk decisioning, purchasing, transfer pricing, B2B sales and marketing, financial analysis, and economic research.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Moody’s listed a three-pronged product strategy post-acquisition:

  • Apply MA analytics to data to generate off-the-shelf financial metrics

  • Package BvD data subscriptions with MA analytical software & models

  • Enrich MIS/MA data sets with BvD’s proprietary identifiers

Moody’s will also be looking to extend Bureau van Dijk’s commercial presence beyond Europe and to non-financial customers.  The acquisition helps Moody’s extend its addressable market beyond credit to provide “Moody’s-branded scores/assessments for tax risk, transfer pricing, compliance, financial crime, [and] supply chain management.”

“Moody’s is a highly regarded, authoritative source of credit ratings and analytical tools, with a strong brand and global reach,” said Mark Schwerzel, Deputy CEO of Bureau van Dijk. “The addition of Bureau van Dijk’s powerful information platform to Moody’s Analytics’ suite of risk management solutions presents a wide range of opportunities for us to better serve our combined customer base.”

Bureau van Dijk has been owned by a series of private equity firms with EQT acquiring the firm from Charterhouse Capital Partners in September 2014.  At the time, the sale price was not disclosed.  Charterhouse acquired Bureau van Dijk in 2011 from BC Partners for €960m.

EQT noted the following areas of investment during its ownership period:

  • Development of the organisational structure to prepare for further growth

  • Investments in the sales organization, including the introduction of a matrix sales structure, implementation of a global CRM system, and expansion of the salesforce

  • Strong focus on the development of new products and continued improvement of existing ones, e.g. the launch of a new user interface

  • Substantial investments in marketing and corporate branding

Bureau van Dijk Orbis Enhancements

Saved Searches is one of the new features added to BvD Orbis.
Bureau van Dijk Orbis Build a List

Bureau van Dijk rolled out the latest set of enhancements to its Orbis company research and financial analysis platform.  Orbis was re-platformed last year and given a modern user interface.  New features include a document ordering module, improved peer reporting, and enhanced customization.  The new document ordering module assists with KYC/AML and company research by delivering original images of business documents, such as certificates of incorporation, shareholders’ details, and annual reports.  The new module was built in partnership with aRMadillo (FKA RM Online) and delivers reports “usually within an hour.”  Users can even order reports for companies not found in the Orbis database.

Customization features include calculated variables which can be shared across the account group, chapters, and classifications.

“The new interface arranges company reports into “books” that are further organised into “chapters”, that contain related information,” said CMO Louise Green.  “This feature lets you create your own customised chapters, which could include: your company logo or other images; widgets from the profile page; worksheets with selected financials; and any of your own fields that you have imported into Orbis.”

Custom classifications allow users to map their own industry and geographic codes to ORBIS data.

Bureau van Dijk recently released a 2:33 demo of seven key workflow improvements that were implemented in last year’s release:

  1. Favorite Search Criteria
  2. Instant Currency Switch
  3. Alert Management and Quick Alerting
  4. Quick View of a Company
  5. Random Sorting and Sampling
  6. Pivot Analysis
  7. Corporate Ownership Explorer

The Orbis database, which is available for Orbis financial analysis, MINT sales intelligence, and Catalyst workflow product lines, now spans 220 million companies across 200 countries.

Bureau van Dijk Orbis Company View
The Bureau van Dijk Orbis Company View is customizable.

2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Now Available

I am proud to announce that I released the second edition of my book, 2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors yesterday.  It has been a long process of updating and expanding the original eleven profiles, adding three new profiles for the UK (Bureau van Dijk, Artesian Solutions, and DueDil), and adding four profiles for Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendors with ecosystems (KiteDesk, Outreach, Quota Factory, SalesLoft).

I have written blog articles on almost all of the seventeen profiled vendors in the past year.  So if you’ve found my blog useful, the book will be invaluable for procurement decisions or staying abreast of the key vendors in the SI space.

As sales teams and procurement departments may have gone through vendor demos or trials back in 2015 or early 2016, I have added sections which detail product changes over the past year.  These include new product launches, vendor changes, enhancements, and pricing changes.

I have also added or expanded discussions on Account Based Marketing (ABM), Account Based Sales Development (ABSD), Marketing Automation connectors, and the UK market.

You will even find a new Glossary.

Feel free to contact me at 978-692-0170 or MLevy@GZConsulting.org.  I am offering a 20% licensing discount during the month of January.

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