In today's fast-paced financial world, having access to the right software and tools is crucial to maintaining your edge.
The Bloomberg Terminal (Bloomberg) and S&P Capital IQ (CapIQ) are two of the most comprehensive and widely used investment research tools. Less popular but more cost effective alternatives include FactSet and Refinitiv Eikon. For more options see our post, Free and Low Cost Alternatives to Bloomberg.
The coverage and completeness of both Bloomberg and CapIQ keep users coming back despite their higher price points. We tried out both to evaluate the differences This post will help you understand which tool is better for your workflow and needs.
You can find more lists and comparisons on the Tools & Resources section of our blog.
How much do Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ cost?
At a price point of more than $20,000 per year, both Bloomberg and CapIQ are expensive. Both charge an annual subscription fee that is paid upfront, but both tools offer four week free trials so you can try them out before making the financial commitment.
The Bloomberg Terminal recently increased in price to an eye popping $30,000. CapIQ also costs about $25,000 per team. Because CapIQ has team-based pricing it can be a bit easier to share the tool. S&P has many other products, including debt ratings and data feeds, which are all priced separately. Most S&P products have a price point of $15,000 per year or higher.
Both Bloomberg and CapIQ offer customized pricing plans for larger organizations.
If you’re looking for lower-cost options, check out Free and Low Cost Alternatives to Bloomberg.
CapIQ vs. Bloomberg
Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ both offer a comprehensive set of financial and market analysis tools. Both platforms offer market indicators, company screening, SEC filing navigation, peer comparisons, Excel plug-ins, news monitoring and more.
Ultimately, the choice between Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ comes down to your personal preference and your specific needs. The unique features of each platform are detailed below.
Unique Features of a Bloomberg Terminal
Notable features of a Bloomberg Terminal include:
Messaging - Bloomberg offers a messaging system that allows users to communicate with clients, counter-parties, partners, and colleagues within the platform. The messaging feature is particularly popular among institutional investors and traders who must communicate and collaborate in real time.
Trade execution - Bloomberg offers integrated trade execution capabilities This feature is essential for many investors and traders who must respond quickly to market changes.
Keyboard - A Bloomberg terminal comes with its own customized keyboard, and once mastered, gives you extremely efficient and powerful access to market information. This feature is paramount for power users who need to move quickly and efficiently through large amounts of data.
In-platform Python notebooks - Bloomberg allows users to create and execute customized scripts using Python within the platform. This feature is fantastic for data analysts and researchers who need to manipulate data and perform complex analyses.
SEC filing/text search with synonyms - Bloomberg's search feature now shows results using synonyms to the search terms, making it easier to find relevant information regardless of wording used. This type of search was made popular by market intelligence platform, AlphaSense. For more text search and filing navigation options see The Best SEC Filing Navigation Tools.
Bloomberg is designed to cater to the needs of institutional investors and traders. The messaging, trade execution and keyboard shortcut features save time and effort for users who need to move quickly. The keyboard shortcuts also mean that there’s a longer learning curve for new users.
Unique Features of S&P Capital IQ (CapIQ)
Notable features of S&P Capital IQ (CapIQ):
Better relationship/people coverage - S&P Capital IQ provides more comprehensive and accurate coverage of executives, board members, and other key individuals associated with companies, allowing users to understand the key players driving company performance and their relationships with each other.
Better/more complete compensation and governance data - S&P Capital IQ provides more comprehensive compensation and governance data, making it easier for users to analyze executive pay and performance.
More intuitive/user-friendly interface - S&P Capital IQ's interface is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly - no need to learn a complex new keyboard and a multitude of shortcuts to be a power user.
Better private company coverage - S&P Capital IQ has better coverage of private companies than other market intelligence tools, making it a preferred tool for investors and analysts who focus on the private market. This feature can help users access crucial financial data for private companies and make informed investment decisions.
Debt ratings - S&P ratings are available, although they come at a higher subscription cost.
In summary, CapIQ offers most of the data provided by Bloomberg but lacks the keyboard, messaging and trade execution. CapIQ outperforms on governance data quality and private coverage.
Which financial research tool should you choose?
When choosing between Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ, it's essential to consider your specific investment needs and requirements, with some key factors to consider below:
S&P Capital IQ is better for many of the less standardized data points, boasting better coverage, accuracy, and completeness. S&P Capital IQ also has better coverage of private companies. For users who focus on less standardized data points e.g. those with a governance or ESG focus, S&P Capital IQ may be a better fit.
Bloomberg Terminal may be a necessity rather than a choice if you are managing your own fund and/or executing your own trades. The other coveted feature is access to its exclusive messaging system, making it easier to communicate with clients, partners, and colleagues in real-time.
The right financial research tool depends on your needs and requirements. When choosing between the two tools, consider which features are most critical to your work. Consider exploring "The complete list of free & paid investment research tools and resources" before making a final decision.
Alternatives to Bloomberg and CapIQ
While Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ are great for market and financial analysis, they fall short when it comes to qualitative analysis. The majority of information disclosed to public markets is in the form of unstructured narrative text. Qualitative data points are both high impact and severely underused due to the difficulty of locating and organizing information about accounting policies, related parties, management relationships etc. Neither of the companies we are comparing here facilitates robust textual processing, navigation and analysis. Even though S&P Capital IQ has better coverage of unstructured data points than Bloomberg, it is remarkably limited and prone to error.
Unlike traditional players, Hudson Labs specializes in advanced financial processing and analysis of text. We’re the only automated software that provides reliable indicators of qualitative risk in a structured format. Stop wasting time reading SEC filing boilerplate.