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Global Outlook

Investment Research Must Evolve in a Technology Driven Environment

April 17, 2014, Thursday, 20:13 GMT | 15:13 EST | 23:43 IST | 02:13 SGT
Contributed by eResearch


The economist Kenneth Boulding suggested that in periods of transition it is not the well adapted who survive but those who adapt well. This certainly applies to the challenges in investment research - which, according to Harvard’s Paul Healy, has successfully adapted to changing environments since its inception over 50 years ago.

The investment research industry has seen little innovation over the last 10 years when it comes to content delivery and client engagement. Research is largely delivered in the form of PDF reports that are either emailed across to the consumer (i.e., client) or delivered as links within the emails. This is despite the revolution in content access that has taken place over the same period with the evolution of the Internet (giving rise to Google, YouTube etc.) and the growing importance of social media in recent times (e.g., Blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook etc.).

The explosion of the Internet and in recent time’s social media has made us realize that merely delivering information adds little value to the research consumer as information is abundantly available at the press of a mouse click. It is the ability to sift through large volumes of information to deliver actionable analytics and intelligence is what drives value in the market place. In addition, consumers pay for bespoke services and requests; and in that context, research technology within the organization has to be geared to diverse client requests at the shortest possible turn-around-times. Socials communities Secondly, the consumption behavior of the consumer is evolving at a faster pace than ever imagined before and the fight for mind-share is becoming rather acute. Research consumers are reading less as they are being bombarded with content from multiple different avenues as highlighted above. Consumers are facing an era of information overload, and hence the need for better client engagement tools. Everyone wants the “elevator pitch” and if they remain interested they seek the more in depth view. The same applies to the consumer in the investment research industry. Making content easily accessible in bite size components across multiple mediums helps to raise the recall value and branding of the service provider.

Consequently, if you are an investment research service provider, not only do you have to think about your “value add” in your offering, but also pay equal importance to your delivery mediums and their associated client engagement quotient. Clients are increasingly accessing content in short blurbs in Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and seeking a more engaging and interactive relationship with the content they consume. As an investment research provider you have to realize you are not immune to the changing consumer behavior in the market place when it comes to consuming content in general.

Investment research firms have to look at interactive engagement tools within their research offering and research reports. Ability to deliver embedded video within research reports; ability for clients to access interactive content (e.g., investment valuation and financial forecast models etc.) from the research reports; as well as getting content via social media feeds and blogs, all go a long way to boost the client engagement quotient of the research offering as well as wins greater mind-share in a competitive market place. We believe it is not a case of either/or but all of it, when it comes to picking the various digital mediums to deliver content and win the mind-share battle.

As a research service provider, if you buy the above argument, you will then have to ensure your research technology within your organization is able to cope with the workflow and compliance challenges of delivering content across this wide spectrum of digital mediums, but also empower you with the data and analytics on who is consuming your content, on what medium and how often. We at ANALEC believe technology solutions that are thinking ahead of their times and delivering the capability to leverage the broader digital medium, deliver bespoke client servicing capabilities and possess higher client engagement value will go a long way to address your long-run competitive challenges within the investment research industry.

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