CDA Investment Technologies

CDA Investment Technologies

CDA Investment Technologies was a Maryland based financial research firm founded by Robert A. Levy. It was a pioneer in early financial databases, but was best known for its mutual fund rankings, whose quarterly release would attract national attention in the 1980s and 1990s. After being bought by the Thomson Corporation in 1987, it was an independent subsidiary until 1998, when it was blended in with Technimetrics to become Thomson Financial Investor Relations.

Founding and Independence

CDA Investment Technologies was founded in 1966 by Robert A. Levy, who had just received his Ph.D. in Business from American University. CDA was one of the first financial research companies to effectively harness computing databases. It's two main products were Spectrum and Cadence Universe. Spectrum reported the holdings and transactions of investment banks, mutual and hedge funds, industry insiders and other institutional investors. Cadence Universe, for which it would become most well known, used portfolio analysis to measure the performance of those same money managers. ["Md. Data Base Firm Acquired." The Washington Post. May 4, 1987. PAGE F38]

By 1985, national newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were reporting on its rankings of mutual funds and money managers. ["Average Adviser's Stock Portfolio Outdid Market Slightly Through 3rd Quarter."Wall Street Journal". October 7, 1985. Section 2; Page 45. By Linda Sandler.] ["Wall St. Rediscovers the Thrift Stocks." The New York Times. December 1, 1985. Section 3, Page 10. By Nathaniel C. Nash] CDA grew to have offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo and London in addition to its home office in Rockville, Maryland. [ [ "Lawyer Who Wiped Out D.C. Ban Says It's About Liberties, Not Guns"] by Paul Duggan, "The Washington Post", March 18 2007]

As a Subsidiary

In 1986, Levy sold CDA to the Dutch publishing firm Elsevier, although he stayed on as CEO. CDA's time at Elsevier was limited, though, and the company was sold to Thomson Corporation in May of 1987 for a profit. ["Md. Data Base Firm Acquired." The Washington Post. May 4, 1987. PAGE F38]

CDA remained a mostly independent subsidiary and Levy was again kept on as CEO. Their quarterly releases of rankings continued to earn widespread coverage, and their research was well respected and influential. [ [ New York Times Stories on CDA] ]

After Levy retired in 1991, CDA continued to profit and expand. In 1991 CDA bought Wiesenberger Financial Services. ["The Washington Post" "Small-Business Failure Rate Surges in Maryland, Delaware." November 11, 1991. Page F7] In 1993 it acquired H.F. Pearson & Co, another financial research firm. ["The Washington Post". "Business Briefs." May 31, 1993. Page F9.] In 1993 CDA also made an influential deal with Nasdaq to publish a book called "Corporate Reports" that was distributed only to CFOs of companies that were listed on the Nasdaq exchange. It provided valuable information about each company, its trends, and how it stacked up against it competitors. ["The Washington Post". "Fishing in the Data Stream." Maryann Haggerty, Jeanne Cooper. July 5, 1993. Page F3] In 1995 CDA bought Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy research firm. ["The Washington Post". "Business Digest." June 06, 1995. Page D01.]

CDA Name Fades

CDA's influence and brand, however, began to fade in the later half of the 1990s. Even though the The Wall Street Journal described CDA as one of the two best financial software sites online in 1996, ["Come into the Web: Financial software vendors join the Web revolution." "The Wall Street Journal." May 01, 1996. By Janet Pellicio] CDA's quarterly releases of mutual fund rankings no longer prompted articles and discussion in national papers.

In 1998 Thomson Corporation bought Technimetrics from Knight-Ridder and decided to blend it and CDA together, essentially ending CDA's run as an independent company. ["Thomson buys financial research firm" "The Globe and Mail (Canada)", April 1, 1998, Pg. B3.] Both became part of what is now known as Thomson Financial Investor Relations.


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