More proof the old way of managing investment research is no longer viable
When we launched in 2011, it was out of a firm conviction that just about every aspect of the way investment organizations managed their investment research could be made more efficient. Our founding team had seen firsthand how inefficient research processes not only slowed analysts down, but they also opened up the investment team to potential missed opportunities, and exposed the firm to compliance risks.
Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to work with many of the world’s leading investment managers, and we've seen how quickly upgrading research management systems can impact the entire investment process — individual analysts become more productive, investment teams become more collaborative, and the investment organization is better positioned to deliver improved client outcomes.
So it’s not surprising to see that a dedicated, modern and mobile-friendly research management system is no longer a nice to have for investment management organizations. It's quickly becoming a must have.
In fact, according to the results of a survey we recently commissioned of 100 investment management professionals, nearly all participants whose firms are not using a modern research management system today told us they are likely to extremely likely to adopt one by 2022.
When reviewing the investor survey results, it’s clear the demand for research management systems is tied to the broader efforts to modernize the asset management operating model, general, and to enable work-from-anywhere capability to the buy-side front office, specifically. This is a trend we’ve seen accelerate throughout 2020 as investment teams all over the world have had to adjust to working from home during the Covid19 pandemic.
While dedicated research management systems have been available for nearly two decades, most platforms were built before the advent of mobile and tablet devices and the proliferation of cloud computing services transformed the way investment teams work. While older research management systems did what they were designed to do — store investment research — they have increasingly fallen short in addressing the evolving needs of investment teams in the mobile age.
Platforms that lack mobile capabilities not only hinder productivity and collaboration, they also leave organizations exposed to business continuity risk during times of disruption, as we’ve seen in 2020. The embrace of cloud and mobile solutions has shifted user expectations of what a research management system should do as the need to work from anywhere — at home, in the office, and on the road — is no longer a nice to have but rather a must have on day one.
Older research management systems that serve only as a depository for research content are quickly becoming irrelevant, being replaced by modern systems that deliver a centralized platform for individual analysts and investment teams to publish, share and act on research information in real-time from anywhere, using any device.
In fact, of the larger asset managers that participated in our survey, 39 percent told us that their firm implemented a modern, third-party research management platform to enable their team to work from anywhere. Only improved workflow efficiency (50%) and better data security (44%) ranked higher. Similarly, 32 percent of respondents from firms managing more than $20 billion said the need for full-featured mobile usability was a major trigger for implementing a third-party platform.
It is clear that asset managers have begun to move quickly to modernize their research management process.
Today, 74 percent of asset managers say they use a dedicated research management platform. For firms that chose to implement a third-party platform, only 18 percent say that platform was in place four years ago, and 33 percent say their system was deployed in the last 24 months. For asset managers with no dedicated research management platform today, they almost unanimously said their organization will likely implement a third-party system in the next two years.
Yet while adoption of third-party platforms is rapidly moving toward 100 percent, there is still a lack of consensus on which platform features asset managers value most. Are integrations with portfolio management systems more important or will ensuring better control over investment IP deliver more value to the organization? Will flexibility to support different workflows drive demand, or should systems emphasize greater transparency for regulatory risk management?
We anticipate a consensus view to emerge on the core benefits a modern research management platform can deliver to improve individual productivity, tighten investment team collaboration, and give transparency and control over research content to the investment enterprise.
Several platform features are likely to gain the most attention: seamless integration with other applications and data sources, streamlines team workflows, work from anywhere capability, and best-in-class support. Most importantly, these systems need to be easy to use.
As the leading modern research management platform provider, it is our obligation to deliver an easy to use system that enables investment teams do more of what they do best — generate great investment ideas.