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Unbundling Uncovered: investment research in summer 2024


Ahead of Unbundling Uncovered, the international event exploring best practices in investment research, Substantive Research asked Singletrack to answer a series of questions about the current challenges and opportunities facing the research market.

We’re excited to join everyone in New York later this month, where Singletrack CSO Brijesh Malkan and Senior Product Manager Milind Chidrawar will be participating in two of the panels. Here, we share how we answered those questions posed by the Substantive Research team, covering topics like current market volatility, regulatory changes and the future of the investment research market. We look forward to getting more perspectives and deeper insights on these and plenty of other issues at Unbundling Uncovered.

  1. How do you think impending greater regulatory alignment between North America and Europe will affect the demand, supply and funding of research?

While there are still some details to iron out, the path forward is becoming much clearer. Optionality in payment structure will increase research coverage, differentiation and innovation as well as improving investment support.

We’re already noticing changes: among Singletrack clients, the number of accounts managed has increased 17.5% over the past two years, and the number of research emails is up more than 25% – the MiFID shackles are off. 

  1. What are the implications for research valuation processes on the buy side? What doesn’t change?

Even though MiFID II is going away, the increased transparency it created and the valuation frameworks of unbundled research are here to stay. Interaction and engagement capture is a virtuous cycle which enables research firms to improve service delivery and helps consumers evaluate quality. As we expect buy side firms to expand and change providers in a more open market, this framework becomes more, not less, important.

  1. Where has new technology changed the research market most in the last couple of years, and where will technology spur the greatest changes in the near future?

AI has been revolutionising all kinds of industries, including investment research. Over the past year we’ve seen the conversation mature, and we champion ways of using AI in conjunction with human expertise to deliver ‘augmented intelligence’. The initial use cases have been around content discovery and supporting ease of consumption, but increasingly we are starting to see content production support.

Alongside this, we have seen continued innovation in delivery channels. Research portals are developing – incorporating semantic search and new workflow tools such as screeners and meeting requests, to improve integration of research into investment workflows and support self-service.

  1. Where should research providers focus their efforts in order to remain competitive? Where are the strongest opportunities for them?

Highly personalised research content and service are key differentiators. Giving clients what they want at an individual level is going to protect and grow the existing client base, which can be a huge source of revenue alongside more traditional prospecting. 

Achieving this in the current market is about being smart and doing more with less. Teams are leaner, time is at a premium, so finding ways to lean on the client data firms already hold by using the right technology tools to spot trends and changes will be crucial. 

  1. If technology can do so much more now, what does that mean for how firms hire and train their talent? How will that affect demand and supply for research and data in the future? 

We recently spoke to Substantive Research CEO Mike Carrodus about this very issue, and we agree that while the potential workflow efficiencies to be found in eliminating repetitive, manual processes are attractive, it’s often these very processes which can be instrumental in training the next generation of analysts. So efficiency needs to be balanced against these training requirements, and this in turn must be balanced against the expectations of the next generation of analysts. They’re digital natives, and they will expect to find the kind of intuitive, efficient technology tools they use every day in their work lives too. 

Brijesh Malkan

Brijesh Malkan

Published: 07/06/2024