Bligh Simon 1457568105359 (1)Bligh will look to partnerships to grow Dun & Bradstreet’s business. 

Dun & Bradstreet Australia and New Zealand’s new chief executive Simon Bligh says partnerships with big data owners outside credit bureaus will be considered in his bid to take share from his former employer, and the market’s dominant player, Veda.

Veda Group’s former chief data officer – a role that included heading up its consumer division and leading many of its recent acquisitions – started his new job on Monday after eight months of gardening leave.

Australian private equity house Archer Capital bought Dun & Bradstreet’s local arm for $220 million in June 2015. The company still has a trading arrangement with its former global parent where they can access each other’s data.

Since Mr Bligh left, Veda has been privatised by global credit bureau Equifax. The $2.5 billion deal was completed on February 26. Mr Bligh said the market that D&B, Veda and bank-backed rival Experian are targeting is growing with the entry of new lenders, and the advent of new comprehensive reporting rules. But he and its new local owner will aim to grow beyond D&B’s traditional focus on commercial credit data via acquisition and partnerships.

Veda currently has about 85 per cent of consumer credit data and 65 per cent of business data in Australia.

“The historic genesis of the business was in commercial data and that remains a key strength. But it has had a consumer bureau for over a decade so obviously comprehensive reporting is going to take that from strength to strength,” he said.

“There is a lot of innovation in this area and a lot of clever technologists out there and I am sure that there will be businesses we will look at. If you can find an acquisition that has good data sets and good technology, then naturally it would be on my radar as well as many others.”

There are growing sources of data outside banks freely available online, such as on social media, that is being used to make credit assessments. There is also large amounts of transaction data owned by non-banks such as PayPal, which is now using this to lend to small business.

Mr Bligh said if some important sources of data don’t choose to share via credit bureaus, D&B will try to form partnerships if they are too big to buy.  “We will look at how can we best solve our customer’s problems. Partnering is going to be fundamental to being able to do that,” he said.

The extra cash and products available to Veda from Equifax could be expected to make it harder for rivals like D&B to make a dint in Veda’s dominance. But under a code recently approved by the competition regulator, banks will share their data equally with all three bureaus.