FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS) Q4 2020 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Sep 24, 2020 • 11:00 am ET

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FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS) Q4 2020 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Executive
Philip Snow

more in technology initiatives, and also 69% of executives believe that businesses are facing more competitive pressure than in the past, as customers expect higher and more personalized levels of service.

A successful digital strategy includes having a scalable cloud foundation, a modern data layer with best-of-breed content, streamlined processes, the use of cognitive computing, and a personalized client experience. This is the journey we ourselves are on as an organization. It makes us stronger, and more importantly, it will help our clients get to where they too are going. We believe we're making tremendous progress on our initiatives, and we were widely recognized by the industry in 2020 with numerous product awards for solutions that cross every aspect of our business, including best data providers of the buy and sell sides and best buy-side analytics tool from WatersTechnology.

This past year, we executed well against the first year of the investment plan we laid out back in September of 2019. On the technology front, we've made significant progress on our move to the public cloud, and we have announced plans to migrate our real-time ticker plant to Amazon Web Services. This migration will create the first global ticker plant of its kind in the cloud. We also opened up many more APIs, creating new ways for clients to ingest process and program against our data and analytics. We added more industries to our deep sector program, made progress on our private market strategy and executed on our wealth investments, expanding coverage of our StreetAccount offering in both Asia-Pac and Canada. We remain committed to our multi-year investment plan for both content and technology and believe continue to invest now is the best long-term strategy.

Turning to our results, we continued to execute well against our second half pipeline, resulting in a strong fourth quarter. Our ASV growth rate accelerated 45 basis points to over 5%, and we maintained our margins, as well as grew EPS for the quarter. Both the Americas' and EMEA's growth rates accelerated with both regions seeing strong contributions from our largest institutional asset management clients. Private equity venture capital and hedge fund clients also drove growth in the quarter, helped in large part by our increasing private market content. Asia-Pac continues to be our fastest growing region, even though our business in the region saw a fair amount of challenges this year due to the effects of the pandemic. We saw some bright spots in Australia and Singapore, particularly with sovereign wealth funds. And we believe we have good opportunities next year as the recovery proceeds, especially with our premium products such as reporting and trading solutions.

Looking at things globally, I'm happy to say that all our businesses contributed to the fourth quarter growth. The greatest contributions year-on-year were from wealth and analytics. Analytics grew 7% and was the biggest contributor to overall ASV. This business saw strength in our performance, reporting, fixed income and risk solutions, and we believe these products will continue