London-based Research for Investors will be holding its fourth annual conference showcasing independent macro, policy and FICC providers. A link to the brochure can be found here.
The Global Independent Research Conference will be held in London March 1, 2018 with key topics being the outlooks for global macro and global asset allocation and breakout sections covering emerging markets, sector allocations, currencies and commodities.
Organizer Gael Tissier is expecting 300 buy-side participants at the conference, an increase over last year’s 246 participants. Including independents and vendors, overall attendance is expected to reach 400 total.
Fees before year-end are £800 (ex VAT) per participant, then £1,200 (ex VAT) per participant thereafter. For buy-side participants, the fee is only £150 (ex VAT). Sponsors include Morningstar, Gavekal, Capital Alpha Partners, worldflow and AlphaValue.
Tissier reports that European independents are struggling to sell their research as asset managers are prioritizing on negotiations with investment banks. Uncertainty over the costs associated with sell-side research is delaying decisions to purchase boutique research.
The conference organized by Research For Investors is one of the few conferences showcasing independent research. In contrast, we estimate that there are over 2,000 conferences organized annually by banks, brokers and conference specialists. Only a small fraction feature independents.
For many of the independents participating in the conference, MiFID II unbundling rules are hurting business above and beyond the delays mentioned by Tissier. Regulators have bungled the fixed income element of research unbundling, creating a more unlevel playing field where dealers can continue to fund macro and FICC research through unchanged spreads as they have traditionally done, while notionally offering bargain basement subscriptions. Macro research is being given away for “free” under a MiFID II loophole that allows broadly circulated research to be exempt from unbundling rules. The optics are extremely adverse for independent macro research firms which largely rely on subscriptions.