From early 2018 MiFID II regulations will require that sell-side research and corporate access services provided to EU based firms be subject to an exacting new code of practice. How firms perceive the regulations may well determine how well they perform in the new era…

By Stuart Berwick, CEO, Singletrack

More work for less reward?

It’s clear that MiFID II will place significant demands on those involved in sell-side research, its distribution and marketing. Fine grained research consumption metrics, transparent pricing, subscription based entitlements, providing the means for clients to fulfil their own reporting obligations - it’s hardly surprising that the industry is tending to perceive these demands as threats to revenues, coverage and liquidity.

In a shifting landscape

Along with MiFID II and its expected region-specific additional regulations, the research marketing landscape is evolving in itself. A new range of services and venues is emerging, including online markets for unbundled research, commission management systems and roadshow aggregators. Clearly all these new developments will need to work within the MiFID II framework.

Make the data useful

MiFID II has at its heart the responsibility to collect, store and report a great deal of data relating to client interaction and service consumption. Some see this as an onerous task, yet with the right tools, this activity can also generate high value business intelligence, enabling firms to capitalise on their individual business strengths and build closer, more profitable client relationships.

Greater visibility…

  • Offers a detailed view of how a piece of research performs
  • Provides a guide to pricing, client preferences, product life cycles and the most engaging authoring styles
  • Enables firms to show additional content based on what the client has already subscribed to
  • Allows clients to see what content others with similar profiles are consuming


Detailed reporting…

  • Allows detailed monitoring of client reviews and invoices to ensure activities are fully monetized
  • Enables a more personalised bespoke platform to evolve for each client, supplying relevant content in timely ways
  • Forms the basis of an evidence-based platform which maximises return on all aspects of research content provision and corporate access


Furthermore, with the use of advanced analytics, deeper layers of business insight can be revealed, transforming client service productivity and opening up new revenue sources.

Re-opening the client portal

The client portal – given appropriate functionality – can become a high value online relationship building tool. Well designed and fully interactive, a contemporary client portal can support easy access to and consumption of relevant content. It will provide real-time client interaction and invaluable preference intelligence with which to inform marketing and cross-selling.

Additionally, a secure portal will complement aggregator services. Banks and brokers can apply their own style and structure to build a ‘shop window’ to highlight their competitive strengths. Full records can be kept for client reporting and compensation, and all downloaded documents can be watermarked.

Implement with care

Fast, trouble-free implementation is clearly the ideal for MiFID II specific solutions. To this end, even the largest banks and brokers are tending to move away from in-house platform development.

To minimise risk, reduce cost and accelerate ROI in an evolving multi-faceted marketplace, many are now choosing established software platforms and adopting proven best practice.

Gaining advanced insights

Unbundling content, pricing services and meeting higher standards of accountability – it all amounts to a significant challenge, but in the same context, applying advanced analytics can deliver striking business insights:

  • Answer key questions such as: what level of service achieves a given level of revenue?
  • Establish a firm’s most profitable research sectors and analysts
  • Analyze all client interactions, down to the detail of each contact
  • Compare performance of individual buy and sell-side analysts against configurable benchmarks
  • Reveal views of client activity over specified timescales, related to a particular sector, industry or market capitalisation


By gaining a clear view of clients’ preferences, requirements and consumption - and metrics for the provision and effectiveness of all forms of content and corporate access - meeting the new regulations can deliver actionable intelligence of considerable value.

It’s the kind of information which can reveal a more complete picture of where a sell-side firm’s strengths lie, enabling it to capitalize on this and build distinct competitive advantage.

About the author

Prior to co-founding Singletrack, Stuart Berwick spent a decade in business and technology leadership roles in the capital markets business units of major investment banks. As global head of Research technology for JP Morgan, Stuart led a large and diverse team of technologists spread across Europe, the US and Asia, developing and supporting innovative content management, collaboration and analytics solutions both for internal trading groups and the bank's institutional and hedge fund clients.

Singletrack’s cloud-based CRM, client engagement and research monetisation systems are used by leading institutional brokers, investment banks and Independent Research Providers on four continents.