The Alternative Data Council is series of working groups and information-sharing forums within FISD and was created as part of the strategic initiative to engage the alternative data community. We are focused on establishing best practices and standards for the delivery of alternative data to the investment industry, and providing opportunities for education, information sharing and networking.


The primary goals of establishing voluntary alternative data standards are to:

  • lower costs for the benefit of end clients
  • facilitate growth of the industry
  • drive adoption of alternative data in the investment process
  • promote the ethical use of data

Specifically, this will be achieved by:

  • improving data documentation
  • raising data quality standards
  • unifying data pipeline management
  • reducing time spent on data delivery and ingestion
  • easier permissions management and authentication
  • simplifying vendor due diligence and contracting


The industry is best served by having standards which are:

  • voluntary, open and shared, instead of proprietary and centralized
  • community enabled, instead of relying on a single party
  • developer friendly, instead of primarily for non-technical users

Who benefits and how?

From the data consumer perspective:

  • investors: reduced cost for investment management services
  • fundamental analysts: faster data insights, automate tasks, easier slice+dice
  • fundamental portfolio managers: increased idea generation, scalability, data ROI
  • quantitative analysts / data scientists: better data quality, easier to assess predictive value and build strategies
  • quantitative portfolio managers: reduced research time, increased data ROI
  • data engineering: cheaper, faster and better data pipelines
  • IT: improved security and scalability
  • legal & compliance: improved due diligence, faster workflow

From data vendor perspective:

  • C suite: happier clients, shorter sales cycle, secure distribution
  • product managers: better user experience, usage analytics
  • engineering: easier to build data pipelines, less infrastructure to manage

Who participated in the creation of these documents?

Buy-side institutions with feedback from vendor FISD members. Click here to download a partial list of contributors. If you would like to be involved in future Alternative Data Council activities, contact Tracey Shumpert

What do the voluntary standards cover?

  • Vendor best practices: guiding vendors on how to best deliver data
  • Vendor questionnaires and contracts: shared semi-standardized due diligence questionnaires and contracts
  • Documentation standards: consistent data documentation, similar to API Blueprint
  • Data definition language: covering data schema, file attributes and quality tests, similar to FrictionlessIntakeQuilt
  • Issue tracker: transparent tracking of problems and improvement requests
  • Knowledge base: containing answers/solutions (including code) to commonly asked questions/problems
  • Authentication provider: defining data access permissions and providing authentication


Tracey Shumpert, Director of Member Relations, FISD