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Research as a Service: Assessing the Implications of MiFID II on Investment Research

Traders Magazine Online News, March 21, 2017

John Dwyer

Research aggregators have emerged offering the buy side access to research via a platform with transparent pricing, usage analytics, and budgeting tools.

A key driver of the success of these platforms will be the pricing strategy; we explore the implications of a “per report” pricing approach versus a subscription-based Research as a Service approach.

Research as a Service harnesses best-in-class technology to optimize transparency, compliance, and pricing of research. In addition, it combines digital publishing and alignment of incentives to create a network generating actionable alpha. For example, Smartkarma is pioneering the Research as a Service model across Asian markets. Its recent partnership with Société Générale is a milestone for the investment research industry. Real consensus among the buy and sell side remains elusive — other than an expectation that the regulatory picture is likely to remain mixed.

“The regulatory pulse is likely to quicken through 2017 as evidenced by the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent announcements regarding firms failing to meet their expectations in a number of key research-related areas, including monitoring, pricing, budgeting, and record-keeping,” commented Dwyer.

“The initial focus of the incumbents on the buy side and sell side is likely to be on compliance. However, as new operating procedures are put into place and the research evolves to a peer-to-peer approach, then greater scrutiny will emerge on commercial implications of how alpha-generating research should be monetized,” he added.

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