Benzinga Pro is the latest technological advancement from one of the top names in the fintech space. The company has emerged as a thought leader and continues to develop cutting edge tools that are both stylistic and affordable.
The Benzinga Pro terminal has advanced dramatically in the last two years. It now provides more than 1,000 actionable news stories each day and quickly separates the signal from the noise. Custom tools allow users to separate rumors (which may be driving stock moves) and fact. The tool provides multi-screen functionality and offers unique content from both its in-house writing staff, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, press releases, partner sites and more.
It’s a significant leap for the Detroit-based Benzinga that started its focus in the small cap space. In a May 2016 interview with Modern Trader, CEO Jason Raznick described the firm’s mission as providing a place where investors “come together and share ideas and concepts in the financial community.”
“We have not shifted focus,” says Anthony Laverde, the company’s chief content officer, about Benzinga’s evolving platform. “We believe it is a natural progression and maturing of our business.”
One of the main advantages of Benzinga Pro is the affordability. It costs roughly 15% of a Bloomberg terminal and offers a fully customizable platform that is both easy to use and sleek in design. The basic package starts at $99 per month, while its more popular Essential platform costs $199 per month. Investors can also select the premium level at $299. A Bloomberg terminal costs $24,000 by comparison.
Benzinga Pro is evolving with new features and functionality requested by clients.
“There was the opportunity to build a product that delivered the most useful tools to equity traders, at a much better price,” Laverde says. “So, we launched the original product (Pro) and we aim to add a new feature every quarter tailored to the hedge fund community. This quarter’s new feature will be the shareholder’s list that you get on a Bloomberg terminal. You see what everyone owns [and] the change in portfolios with 13F filings.”
Traders who operate in a certain sector can load all of the stock names into the platform. Benzinga’s newsfeed ensures that it is nearly impossible to miss an update. “If it scrolls past you in the screen [because] the scrolling news bar is going fast, it instantaneously e-mails you the same news,” Laverde says.
While the company is always seeking ways to provide new features and tools, customers have the option to speak directly to the editorial team. If a stock is moving, but there doesn’t appear to be much information,
customers can speak through a chat window.
“We’re there to provide real-time market intelligence,” Laverde says. “You can ask, ‘Why Exxon Mobile is down 3% today, but crude’s up?’ We’ll look into it with our contacts [and] may come back and say, ‘Hey, we’ve heard that Exxon stock paid a distribution today.’”
Fixing information inequality
In the inaugural issue of Modern Trader, we argued that one of the biggest problems in the market is the growth of information inequality. Benzinga Pro directly addresses that challenge in a profound way.
This platform offers immediate insight and a minute-by-minute breakdown of earnings reports, conference call points, stock ratings, takeover rumors and activist efforts. Traders who carry a routine will quickly discover that it’s easy to organize information, color code priority news sources, and engage the firm’s news desk.
One of the most intriguing features is Benzinga Pro Audio, a live streaming radio function that offers live audio alerts in ways that can help investors make money, access rumors, and gain immediate access to rating upgrades, downgrades and coverage. The audio feature allows users to hear the story before it hits the news feed.
“We want to make information easier to consume,” Laverde says. “Market participants realize that there are better ways to consume the information they depend on every day and Benzinga is here to serve those customers.”
The organization has a lot of smart individuals with deep backgrounds in finance who are empowering investors in a way that traditional news organizations and sell-side firms have failed to do.
“We’re not here to trade stocks, we’re not a broker, but what we’d like to be is the trading desk of information,” Laverde says. “We have very smart people here who’ve been in the industry a long time. This team understands what is important. We think the opportunity is to act as an [information] bullpen.”
The company’s evolution will continue as it emerges as a media company. Laverde believes that Benzinga can be a more agile organization as it grows. The firm will host the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards in May. This year’s event highlights global innovation and celebrates both record investment and institutional adoption within the space.