Telum Talks To... Silke Marsh, Director, Communications, Asia Pacific, London Stock Exchange Group

Telum Talks To... Silke Marsh, Director, Communications, Asia Pacific, London Stock Exchange Group

Silke Marsh oversees APAC communications for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), parent company of financial data provider, Refinitiv and FTSE Russell Global Indexes. She shares the critical role data plays in financial journalism, as well as the types of financial data and insights that are currently most in demand.

We hear a lot about data journalism, but is that really a new thing? 
We live in a data led world so data-led journalism is definitely not a new thing. However, the ever-increasing depth and breadth of data now available can be overwhelming to navigate, particularly with the rise of alternative data and an increased demand for ESG data and insights.
The key is to be able to bring the data alive through content, insights and commentary that is useful for journalists in their stories.
What kind of data is available for journalists who cover financial and business news? 
There’s a huge array of data available to journalists that provide insights into financial markets. We work very closely with a wide range of reporters, in particular the markets reporters, across the region on a day-to-day basis. Some of the data we provide ranges from our Deals Intelligence quarterly investment banking reports that track IPO and M&A activity across markets, to ESG fund flows data from Lipper, through to commodities, FX and shipping tracking data, as well as tracking sustainable infrastructure projects across the region.
While working with journalists to support their data needs is just a part of our remit as a communications team, it’s really important and keeps us very busy. One moment you’re helping a journalist looking for the latest data on SPAC deals, and the next, you’re working with one of our coal analysts to talk about the China energy crisis in a live broadcast interview. There is never a dull day.
We’re also going to be rolling out Data Connect sessions in the region from early 2022 to engage more with journalists and provide sessions that help them to better understand the data sets and analysis we can provide.
What trends are you seeing at the moment in the financial data space, and what are the journalists you are talking to most interested in? 
SPACS data has been big this year. Another major trend is demand for ESG data and anything that provides insight into sustainable investing. As the world continues to address the challenges of COVID-19, climate change remains one of the largest global issues. It has become imperative for financial markets to address this, so investors can direct funds away from high carbon industries.
Refinitiv offers one of the richest ESG databases in the industry, covering 80 per cent of global market cap and over 450 metrics. Earlier this year, we made our ESG company scores freely available on our website, enabling anyone to see the ESG footprint, based on publicly disclosed data, of over 10,000 companies. 
FTSE Russell also just revealed the findings of its annual global Sustainable Investment Survey looking at attitudes and behaviours of asset managers when it comes to SI with a regional lens. Data around diversity and inclusion across companies is also in demand. Refinitiv recently released the findings of our annual D&I Index, and it always provides interesting insights into how APAC is doing compared to the rest of the world.
There are also some really great new data led groups and alliances doing very interesting work in this space - for instance, the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance, which was founded by Refinitiv, and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, which focuses on bio-diversity data are two of these.
What are the biggest challenges in working for a business at the centre of global markets? 
LSEG acquired Refinitiv earlier this year, and it’s the perfect home for us as part of LSEG’s ‘Data and Analytics’ business, alongside key brands like FTSE Russell. The other two business units are Capital Markets and Post Trade. We are a global business and there is a huge amount going on in the Asia region - it has certainly been exciting to start supporting prestigious brands such as London Clearing House (LCH) and also learn more about capital markets.
More broadly, a big challenge is being able to manage constant change as markets move fast. COVID-19 has had a fundamental and huge impact on global markets - it’s fascinating to be part of a company that is at the heart of financial markets and see that unfold through the data. I remember when the pandemic was declared, watching the epic swings in the share market, oil and commodities on my screen and thinking we were all in for one very wild ride.

The role LSEG plays in the underlying infrastructure of financial markets is critical, and it’s vital that comms conveys and reinforces this message.
From a communications professional perspective, you really need a genuine interest in following markets, and sometimes it can feel like you’re switched on 24/7, so it’s not for people that prefer a 9-5 job! Personally, I like that it’s fast paced, and you’re always learning something new.
Raising the visibility of the LSEG brand in the region is high on my agenda for 2022, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. We have a brilliant global team led by Paul Fincham in London and a "follow the sun approach" to ensure we support journos in their own time zones. I’m particularly excited about the potential for business travel to come back to the region, especially with the new travel lanes just launched in Singapore.
What’s the best way for journalists to engage with London Stock Exchange / Refinitiv? 
Simply drop our media team a line, and we can see how to best support you. Also, watch out for our Data Connect sessions coming in Q1 2022!

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