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Financial News: Trading & Technology Awards – Best Investment Research Platform Nominees


Mark Dowd

Mark Dowd

Financial News has announced the shortlist for its Trading and Technology Awards Europe 2018, which will be announced at a gala dinner to be held at the V&A Museum in London on Tuesday, May 15.

The Nominees for Best Investment Research Platform include the following:

Founded in Paris in 2014, Alphametry remains a lean operation with just six employees, but it has built a community of 650 registered users, of which roughly half are asset managers, wealth managers, family offices and hedge funds, and half are banks and independent research providers. The research is predominantly in-depth, qualitative content rather than technical or quantitative and research providers tend to be regional and mid-tier banks as well as independent entities. In addition to bringing together buyers and sellers of research, Alphametry also offers a research management service that allows portfolio managers to centralise, organise and evaluate their research. Chief executive Fabrice Bouland believes the company differentiates itself by delving deeper into the content than many competitors and ensuring that research can be appropriately categorised and organised.

Electronic Research Interchange
As a free-to-use marketplace where the buyers and sellers of research can meet with no obligation to buy or sell, ERIC is capitalising on the new era of unbundled, transparently-priced research provision under the EU’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The platform has evolved since being founded by Russell Napier and Chris Turnbull in 2014, to become a flexible marketplace for both written research and time with analysts, actively marketed through salespeople at its headquarters in Edinburgh as well as from London and Hong Kong. By October 2017, it had 117 research providers and 1,135 investment firms signed up to the platform. Last year UK media company DC Thomson bought a stake in ERIC, and deployed a number of staff to work on applying its digital publishing tools, including advanced search functionality, to the ERIC platform.

Since launching in 2015, RSRCHXchange has developed a cloud-based marketplace for the buying and selling of research, which has more than 1,200 asset management firms as users and 300 banks, brokers and independent research providers. In the new paid-for research environment under Mifid II, RSRCHXchange has become a trusted community for asset managers to read reports, track firm-wide consumption across counterparties and evaluate the content they receive. In November and December 2017, it signed up more than 100 new asset management firms as the industry prepared for implementation of Mifid II’s January deadline for full transparency on investors’ research costs. As well as applying itself to the demands of Mifid II, RSRCHXchange continued to develop its technology to improve functionality for users last year.

Singapore-headquartered Smartkarma went live with its online research platform in early 2016, and has since expanded beyond the Asian market opening offices in New York, London and most recently Frankfurt. More than 165 buyside firms, representing roughly $13.5tn in assets under management, subscribe to the platform that aggregates research from providers and analysts around the world. Research providers can offer a full range of services, including analyst calls, meetings, corporate access and bespoke projects via Smartkarma. Providers joining the platform are given publishing tools and data sets, and on average, 30 insights are published daily from the network of more than 400 research providers, covering around 2,700 companies. In November, SmartKarma raised a further $13.5m in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital to help fund its international expansion and capitalise, in particular, on demand for transparently priced research under Mifid II.

Visible Alpha
Investment research technology firm Visible Alpha has grown its client base to more than 100 asset managers, with combined assets of more than $16tn, and active participation from 450 research providers since launching in February 2017. Roughly 20% of its clients are based in Europe, and by the end of last year it had 16 employees in the region, 63 in the US and 343 in India. In 2017, in preparation for Mifid II compliance, Visible Alpha bought ONEaccess, a corporate access, resource tracking and broker valuation platform, and London-based Alpha Exchange – a cloud-based marketplace for research providers to sell their reports and asset managers track the research they use. Investment bank-backed Visible Alpha kickstarted 2018 raising $38m in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs, and in March, HSBC became an investor and contributor to the platform. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and UBS are among the other banks backing the regtech firm.

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