Visible Alpha, a US data and analytics firm backed by Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, has agreed a deal to buy a London-based regulatory technology startup as it competes for business ahead of new European Union trading rules.
The acquisition of Alpha Exchange, which runs a cloud-based system that enables banks and other research providers to sell their reports and lets asset managers track what research they use, comes ahead of the implementation in January of the updated Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.
Under the new Mifid II rules, fund managers will have to unbundle research costs from the price of trading and either pay for it themselves or pass on the costs to investors. This means investment firms will need to track and account for the research they use, and those providing it will be competing more fiercely for business.
Visible Alpha, which was set up in February 2017, brings together forecasts and data from equity analysts to generate research on companies, according to its website. It is backed by banks including Citigroup, UBS and Morgan Stanley.
In a statement on the acquisition, the company said that since its launch it has been helping investment firms to become Mifid II compliant and more than 80 firms with a combined $14tn in assets are using its tools.
Alpha Exchange was founded in 2016 by Emma Margetts, former FN Rising Star Scott Winship and Alex Santos. Margetts and Winship both previously worked at Investec Asset Management, while Santos worked at marketing technology company Yieldify.