Key Financial Metrics
Adjusted EPS Growth
ASV Client Retention
Annual subscription value growth
CEO’S LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS
Fiscal 2020 signaled a market and industry environment of great change as global economies—and all of us—adapted to the new environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Our highest priority at FactSet is, as it has always been, the health and safety of our employees and their families. We are proud to report no layoffs or furloughs of our employees to date as a result of the pandemic. More importantly, we continue to do everything we can to support our team, clients, and communities during this time.
When I look back in years to come, I will remember how our team supported one another as we all transitioned to new ways of working and came together to deliver timely service to our clients. Everything we are still experiencing and learning only deepens our resolve to invest in content, technology, and people and strengthens our commitment to our purpose: driving the investment community to see more, think bigger, and do its best work.
At the height of the pandemic lockdown this spring, FactSet worked with Forbes Insights to survey 200 asset managers and asset owners around the globe to understand better where they stand with their digital transformation programs and how they’re leveraging next-generation technologies.
It is clear that while companies are taking certain steps to address challenges in digital transformation, including training staff to embrace new technologies and expanding technology budgets, there are obvious gaps between what is and what could be. This is where FactSet comes in. Thanks to our early investments in content, technology, and people—and our efforts to stay current by continuing to acquire, invest in, and train our staff to deliver what clients want—we are firing on all cylinders across each of our businesses.
In content, we continued to expand the universe of knowledge that clients trust, supporting them with more and better information they can use to make investment decisions. Our progress included increasing our deep sector data offerings in areas such as banking and insurance, growing our team of experts who serve private markets, and expanding coverage of StreetAccount to additional markets in North America and Asia. All of these efforts supported an impressive 90% client retention rate at year end and continued to help diversify our client base, especially in Research, which extended its reach in the corporate space alongside asset managers and owners, sell-side research, and portfolio managers.
In technology, we enhanced our ability to personalize data for our clients, continued to advance our cloud transition through actions such as migrating our real-time ticker plant to AWS, and increased our development of APIs. We also partnered with technology platforms such as OpenFin and Snowflake, enabling a more flexible way for clients to connect with us so we can share intelligence with them in a timely manner. This year, we also completed our legacy VMS platform migration, marking a successful end to Project Next Gen—a 10-year journey.
Most importantly—our people—both our employees and clients have been the pillars of our success. In fiscal 2020 and into fiscal 2021, our efforts have concentrated on helping everyone weather the storm and embrace the workforce of the future head on. We have so far adapted efficiently, deploying our services and supporting our team and clients, thanks to our flexible, open technology, and we are receiving great feedback.
We also grew our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, which continue to be united around FactSet’s four Pillars of Service: inspire tomorrow’s engineers, elevate to educate, alleviate food insecurity, and protect our environment. Our volunteer activities continued in a virtual format in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in total, our team participated in 347 volunteer events globally in 21 countries and 38 FactSet locations, with almost 3,200 FactSet volunteers contributing over 12,200 hours of service in fiscal 2020.
We enter fiscal 2021 with a sense of excitement. We are in a period of accelerated innovation within our industry as clients look to differentiate themselves and be ever more efficient. There’s a great opportunity for us to work in new ways and create new products to improve the experience of both our clients and FactSetters around the globe.
We will continue to grow as an organization and challenge ourselves to further our diversity and inclusion efforts by holding ourselves more accountable to goals. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with the launch of our business resource groups, unconscious bias training, leadership commitments, and increased investment in retention and advancement programs for diverse leaders—but we acknowledge that there is more to be done.
We will begin with a focus on examining the processes by which we attract, recruit, support, and promote our people to ensure we’re eliminating all bias and to continue to increase diversity at all levels of the organization. And it starts at the top. In fiscal 2020, two of the three individuals we promoted within or added to our Board represented women and persons of color, including our Board Chair. We are committed to a more diverse ratio of promotions and new hires into the future. We also look forward to expanding our dedicated internal Diversity and Inclusion team substantially during fiscal 2021 and to creating a measurement approach by which we can define accountability and track our progress toward change.
The current macroeconomic environment remains challenging, but it presents us with an extraordinary opportunity to be even more creative and address our clients’ evolving needs. How? By capitalizing on our digital transformation efforts to provide clients with personalized, differentiated solutions that help them expedite their transformations in an intensely competitive environment; by taking decisive actions from a position of strength to stay ahead of the curve; and by rethinking what our clients need and ensuring they can access data and analytics how, when, and where they want it.
We begin 2021 with the same conviction in our ability to achieve our targets that we had in 2020, thanks to our resilient business model, strong product and services offering, and a team focused on execution. We will continue to transform our technology stack, broaden the openness and flexibility of our offering, and reorganize our workforce to better serve clients remotely. We will grow our content offering and expand our suite of analytical and trading solutions, providing a seamless suite of products that unite front, middle, and back office functions. With everyone at FactSet—over 10,000 people strong—dedicated to our digital transformation and a global team of experts who each play an important role in putting our purpose into practice, we are accelerating our efforts to capture additional market share and be the partner of choice for all existing and prospective clients. We want to be the provider of mission-critical data that guides the investment community to think more strategically about their long-term prospects across the entire investment workflow, which will drive continued long-term shareholder value for FactSet.
As we turn the page on fiscal 2020, we look forward to our continued evolution alongside our clients and stakeholders.
Chief Executive Officer