Research Profile: Industry Veterans Start New Short Ideas Research Boutique

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Late last year, a few research industry veterans set up a brand new short-biased independent research firm called Pacific Square Research (the firm was initially called GVB Research).  Now that the firm has rolled out its research product and has a number of clients paying for its service, we have decided to provide our readers with a more extensive profile of the firm.

What Does Pacific Square Research Do?

Pacific Square Research (PSR) is a short-biased independent research firm that focuses on fundamental, investigative and forensic analysis of North American mid and large cap companies. Their research process involves the discovery, deconstruction and reconstruction of the ideas they have identified.  PSR’s goal is to identify and research actionable names with targeted valuations they believe represent, for shorts, a potential decline of at least 30% to 50% from current levels.

The two principals of the firm – Herb Greenberg and Donn Vickrey – personally conduct all of the research, working on the same names each coming from their own unique perspectives.  PSR ferrets out fraud, fads and failing business models.  The firm’s goal is to highlight at least 20 new names a year they feel strongly about.  They won’t conduct maintenance research merely for the sake of covering names and meeting a quota.  They publish quality over quantity.

A few of the services that PSR provides includes full research reports (Pacific Square Reports); updates to the ideas they have identified (Pacific Square Updates); a list of the companies on PSR’s internal watch list (Pacific Square Alerts); and limited custom fundamental and forensic research for an additional charge (Pacific Square on Demand).

What Makes PSR Different from Other IRPs in the Same Space?

According to Integrity’s classification, there are three major types of short-biased research including qualitative research firms, quantitative research firms, and hybrid firms.  Based on PSR’s research process, we would identify them as a qualitative short-biased research firm.  Two of the more successful firms in this space include Off Wall Street and Assay Research.

PSR is unique as it combines Herb Greenberg’s investigative journalism experience with Donn Vickrey’s background as a nationally recognized forensic accountant and certified fraud examiner.  While PSR isn’t looking for frauds, per se, they believe they will “know one when they see one” – and will probably be able to identify it with more certainty than most.

What is PSR’s Commercial Model?

PSR is not a Registered Investment Advisor or a Broker-Dealer, nor do they trade their own names (like some short-ideas providers).  Instead, PSR provides their research to customers based on a subscription model at institutional rates.

While the firm does offer prospective clients samples of their work, they do not provide free trials to their research.  On occasion, PSR will do custom forensic research for clients.  Customers pay for PSR’s research either using hard dollars or through CSAs established with their executing brokers.

Who is PSR’s Target Market?

PSR’s research product is targeted primarily at U.S. focused long/short equity hedge funds, mutual funds, family offices, insurance companies, auditors, and law firms — any fund or entity looking to find new short ideas or a spot trouble in their portfolio.

Based on Integrity’s assessment, there are approximately two dozen independent short-biased research firms currently in existence around the world serving the same marketplace as PSR, generating total revenues of between $80 mln to $100 mln, with the bulk of the business coming from US-based asset managers.

What is PSR’s Next Major Target/Milestone?

Like a few of PSR’s peers, the firm has adopted a restricted business model where they publish research for a limited number of buy-side customers.  PSR intends to close off subscriptions to its research service this year once they reach approximately 35 clients.

What are a Few Interesting Facts about PSR?

The two founders of PSR, Herb Greenberg and Donn Vickery, both have extensive experience in the independent research industry.  Before working for CNBC and TheStreet, Herb was the Co-Founder and President of indie research firm Greenberg Meritz Research & Analytics.  Donn Vickery was also the Co-Founder of Gradient Analytics (previously known as Camelback Research Alliance) which was eventually acquired by quantitative research firm, Sabrient Systems.

PSR is a short-biased firm that can proudly say, that as of this writing, three of the five names they have published on since launching several months ago are in the money (at least for now)!

PSR Contact Information

Herb Greenberg
Pacific Square Research
858-793-0097
herb@pacificsquareresearch.com

 

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About Author

Mike Mayhew is one of the leading experts on the investment research industry. In addition to founding Integrity Research, Mike is on the board of directors of Investorside Research Association, the non-profit trade association for the independent research industry, and a frequent speaker on research industry trends and developments. Mike has over thirty years of research industry experience. Email: Michael.Mayhew@integrity-research.com

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