Research Profile: Mosaic’s New Research Management Tool

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Mosaic Research Management recently launched a research management platform designed to manage the use of expert networks as well as the firm’s internally  sourced experts and other research vendors.  Although originally designed to help hedge funds manage their internal use of experts, the tool could end up being an interesting competitor to existing research management platforms.

Mosaic was founded in 2010 by Troy Lavinia, who previously worked at Elliott Management and Vista Research.  The initial focus of the company was to work with large hedge funds which sourced experts directly, helping them to recruit experts on an exclusive basis.  Based on this experience, the firm has built software designed to assist hedge funds and other asset managers manage their outside consultants, whether directly sourced or sourced through expert networks.

The new MosaicRM platform is built on top of Salesforce, and acts as a customized relationship management system.  It has three modules:  expert management, vendor management, and content management.

The expert management module acts as a central dashboard where analysts can search for expert sources and request calls through their expert network vendors. It also tracks management meetings, conferences, and proprietary research contacts.  This helps to reduce email clutter and speed up the primary research process.  The dashboard also makes it easier for analysts to find and request repeat calls with previously discovered (and compliance-approved) sources.

One of the advantages of the system is compliance record-keeping.  In the wake of the insider trading investigations, buy side firms have increased their internal controls on their analysts which use expert networks.  Although expert networks have also increased their compliance capabilities, the compliance systems offered by expert networks don’t address the requirements made on a buy-side firm’s own analysts, such as certifications.  The MosaicRM software allows compliance officers to automatically request analysts to submit post-call compliance attestations.

Although intended for asset managers, the product could also be used by research firms which draw on many outside consultants to manage their internal compliance process.

The vendor management module provides reconciliation and payments for research.  This is especially helpful where firms are sourcing their own experts.   In addition, the product collects ratings on research vendors.   Each time an analyst interacts with a research source, the system asks the analyst to rate the quality of the interaction which can be used to allocate commissions and negotiating pricing/coverage with vendors.

The product also has a research management capability which allows analysts to collaborate on research projects, and attach call notes, reports, and models to their projects as they go through the research process.   The content is linked to the pertinent calls and meetings, which allows research management to understand not only what was learned, but when and how.

If the asset manager is already using a research management application such as Code Red or Tamale, Mosaic intends to integrate its content with the existing systems.  Otherwise, it offers an alternative.

Mosaic’s product was originally designed to help hedge funds directly source experts without using an expert network.  Doing so allows an asset manager to develop exclusive relationships with experts which are not shared with competitors.  The firms can also potentially cut costs if they are very high volume users of expert networks.

Direct sourcing of experts increases an asset manager’s compliance liabilities, which is why having a robust internal compliance process is critical.  The reality is that many, if not most, buy side analysts source information from individual experts.  A key distinction is that they may not pay their contacts or have contractual relationships with them.

Asset managers which use only one or two expert networks will find it difficult to justify the cost/benefit of Mosaic’s platform.  The larger expert networks, led by Gerson Lehrman, now offer robust compliance capabilities which can be customized to user’s requirements.  The product will be especially appealing to hedge funds which source their own experts, admittedly a narrow market.  However, the product’s Salesforce roots makes it relatively easy to use, a big advantage over existing research management tools.  Although originally intended for a different purpose, MosaicRM could turn out to be a sleeper competitor to Code Red and Tamale.

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