Introducing the Spotlight Series – No.1: TriggerPoint

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How buy-side firms can and should be allowed to purchase investment research remains a topic as hotly debated in the UK as anywhere else in the world. The latest Financial Conduct Authority consultation on the matter was due to close June 5 of this year, about the same time as the FCA will publish any proposed changes from last year’s Investment Research Review.

Regulation, notably for banks, is a dry subject at the best of times as this contributor knows this only too well after 30 years of time-served as a bank-, insurance- and Fintech analyst. The purpose of this first Spotlight article, therefore, is not to add to the long list of views on how this may play out and what it means for Independent Research Provider (IRPs). Re-bundling,  in whatever form it comes, will of course reframe the landscape – a little – but is unlikely to be a gamechanger for the IRP.

Brave New World?

Instead, the first Spotlight will introduce this nascent IRP’s baby steps into a Brave New World, as a precursor to a series of interview-based articles called Spotlights on some of the most innovative, impressive and intriguing IRPs around. I say Brave New World because regulation aside, the huge and growing impact that the digital era and AI are having, heaped on top of the turmoil that MIFID unbundling and the GFC already wrought on the investment industry, must change the way IRPs think about what ‘research’ means and how they can monetize their skillsets.

This is exactly the conundrum this contributor faced in mid-2023, after just shy of thirty years as a financials analyst and PM – working for both large and small organisations in the markets across the sell- and buyside, at a global and pan-European level. As the old adage goes, “something is only worth what someone will pay for it’, and my first challenge was to identify who is the someone and what is the it?

Out with the Old, In with the New

Exactly one year on, I am pleased to report that – even for a 51 year-old re-released into the wilderness of the global investment community – there really is room for one more independent and the outlook isn’t bleak – just a little different from what I thought. TriggerPoint, our FCA-regulated business incorporated to contribute investment ideas to Alpha Capture platforms, as well as publish investment research, is now up and running.

Early on, I was lucky enough to connect with Ed Blad, founder of UK-based research sales provider Independent Research Forum (IRF). I wanted to understand my routes to market, who was doing what and how could I sell my wares.

Chatting with Ed about plans for TriggerPoint, it quickly became clear that what I was trying to ascertain – how best to monetize the areas I felt I could add most value and, importantly, enjoyed – was very akin to IRF’s challenge promoting and introducing research product sourced from its impressive roster of IRPs, numbering more than 300 at the latest count.

IRP’s Routes to Market

Having spent a number of months meeting IRPs across IRF’s Independent Research Platform, discussing their goals, coverage and preferred approach to monetization, three things became abundantly clear.

1. There are some very, very good independent providers out there

2. Not all research is commoditised, and written research isn’t dead BUT there are at least 5 ways that good IRPs can monetize their expertise.

3. The best way to showcase IRPs skillsets to potential clients is live, with panel debates and short, pithy presentations on relevant, timely and forward-looking topics

For TriggerPoint, Alpha Capture and specialist, sector-specific written research is where we are looking to start.

Monetizing Expertise and Experience

Source: Kenaz Ltd

Showcasing Expertise and Debating Experience

With IRF, we are building a new and comprehensive program of Thematic and Training events throughout the rest of 2024. ‘How to Price in the Risk of War’; ‘Can Japan Regain the Lost Decades?’ and ‘How to Convert a Commodity View into an Equity Position’ are the next three online events on the agenda. Showcasing 9 of IRF’s best research providers, this approach is surely a taste of things to come.

Our upcoming Spotlight article will showcase a research provider with a very special application for a bespoke AI that harnesses technology, and his 40 years’ of Investment experience. After all, as John Naisbitt – a renowned US author and public speaker in the area of Future Studies rightly said “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge”.

Where better to seek this knowledge than from a treasure trove of experts, all who are forging their own paths with imagination and enthusiasm – the community of IRPs?

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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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