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Curatia Analysis for Wed, May 15

Hot or Not: The Topics Industry Execs Follow (and Those They Don’t)

U.K. Markets Facing Brexit Crisis and Most of World Doesn't Care,” a March Bloomberg headline lamented in a story that, ironically, almost no one read. As the headline hints, a surprising gap exists between financial media coverage and the topics industry professionals actually read.

What are readers’ topics du jour? Which subjects have enduring industry cachet? Which issues do publications stubbornly rehash even though financiers hide from them in bathroom stalls, whispering to themselves with their knees pulled up to their chests?

If you’ve been wondering whether no one actually cares about LIBOR or it’s just you, we’ve got answers.

Reader Fatigue

It’s not just you. No one cares about LIBOR. Eighteen articles on the topic in the last 30 days garnered an average popularity score of just 19 on a scale from 0 to 100.

But that’s not all. Other perennial headliners including MiFID II (62 articles; 25 popularity), trade wars (64 articles; 18 popularity), and — need we say it? — Brexit (87 articles; 18 popularity) also have readers faceplanting into their morning oatmeal. Those subjects are bound together by their epic, saga-like stints in the news, suggesting reader fatigue.

They also have a political component — a trope for which financiers have arguably expressed a diminished appetite. That explanation may help contextualize a surprising entry among unpopular topics: ESG (24 articles; 20 popularity).

Interest in crypto (190 articles; 30 popularity) and blockchain (128 articles; 26 popularity) has dwindled to below-average levels despite a continued avalanche of news on the space.

In firm-level news, readers have grown weary of Deutsche Bank’s legendary chronicle of woe (149 articles; 24 popularity) and, to a lesser extent, Wells Fargo’s religious ecstasy of self-flagellation (58 articles; 31 popularity).


But that’s hardly to say readers have grown disaffected with company news altogether. The mere mention of Citadel continues to be an eyeball electromagnet (31 articles; 66 popularity), with grown-up boy-genius Ken Griffin starring as Magneto (11 articles; 68 popularity).

Tradeweb (10 articles; 68 popularity) and MarketAxess (12 articles; 62 popularity) have likewise captivated readers as the subject of fixed-income electronification has taken center stage.

And then there are the exchanges. The contentious subject of market data fees is the most popular of all topics with at least five articles over the last 30 days (5 articles; 93 popularity).

Large US stock exchanges Cboe (46 articles; 53 popularity), ICE/NYSE (86 articles; 47 popularity), and Nasdaq (73 articles; 45 popularity) all garnered the attention of reporters and readers alike.

But coverage of upstart exchanges is especially coveted — if scarce by comparison. Articles on the Members Exchange (5 articles; 80 popularity), LTSE (2 articles; 78 popularity), and IEX (6 articles; 76 popularity) have been hotter than a stroll through King’s Landing in recent weeks.

The trend captures readers’ powerful obsession with the new — the mirror image of their fatigue over long-lived subjects — and their interest in competition with significant implications for the industry as a whole.

Old Standbys

And then there are the classics. Stories about coding, women in finance, and trading strategies have demonstrated a timeless appeal for readers.

Pieces about hiring and comp trends, fleece vests, and crimes that sound like they were committed by a Quentin Tarantino character are meanwhile shoe-ins to achieve industry immortality.

Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll regale you with tales of rogue traders, private investigators, psychopathic finance students, and an army of stock-picking monkeys in fleece vests.