Sell-Side Research services are going through a paradigm shift. A recent survey of Buy Side managers considers “Research” as an important element while deciding the investing avenues. At the same time, it is assumed that “Research” would be bundled with the offering, without being paid for separately. This leads to optimizing a loss leader, where controlling costs become as important as the depth of the research.
Outsourcing sell-side investment research services present a compelling proposition. It leads to maintaining almost similar quality while bringing in the savings in terms of operations’ cost.
In the article, we will evaluate the various functional areas of Sell-Side research that could be outsourced effectively
Fund Raising Services
Buy-side managers are flooded with requests from all sorts of financial instruments and Fund Managers. For smaller funds, the best chance of raising funds is from their personal network. Once those opportunities are exhausted, more reach out could be outsourced for cost efficiencies. Also, for smaller emerging managers, it takes quite some time to close the maiden funds. The best option is to carry on with providing the returns to existing investors and improving the track record while attending all the investor meetings that come their way. Success is hardly overnight. Outsourcing the fundraising process saves precious dollars of a smaller fund while still maintaining the reach-out process effectively.
We have categorized the sell-side research by the organizations that undertake them. They could very well be categorized by their specialization or industry
Sell-Side Research- Corporate M&A
Sell-side research in corporates revolve around M&A. Carving out a division and finding a suitable buyer for the division is a typical sell-side research assignment in the sell-side M&A process value chain. Here, the companies that might be interested in buying the said business is researched, depending on the synergies that the business division offers. Once companies are identified, the personnel list is drawn to finally commission a reach out to set up meetings. A business division depending on its financial performance could be sold anywhere between 6 months to 2 years. Valuations are driven by situations, markets, and negotiations.
Sell-Side Research- Investment Banks
Equity Research coverage forms the backbone for Sell-side research and analysis at Investment banks. Equity research reports are prepared with all the relevant information on the stock related to past financial performance, future financial projections, industry, economy, and other quantitative and qualitative factors. All the analysis leads to the recommendation in terms of Buy, Sell, or Hold for the stock.
Sell-Side Research Platforms and Market Makers
For the research services for platforms, all the administrative services could be potentially outsourced along with the technical aspects of managing a website or an app where the transactions take place
Stocks, Bonds and Foreign Exchange Sell-Side Research
Stocks, Bonds, and Foreign Exchange are the assets that are most traded across the globe. Quantitative and qualitative analysis along with macroeconomic or sectoral research could be potentially outsourced by the Sell Side Managers
Sell-Side Research- Private Equity and Venture Capital
When we talk about Sell-side in the Private Equity or Venture Capital industry, we are talking about further rounds of fund-raising or exiting a portfolio company for various reasons. The exits could also happen via IPO or an M&A with a bigger player. Here research plays a vital role in finding the investor or the M&A suitor. The analysis and documentation support can also be outsourced
Sell-Side Research- Real Estate
Here the sell-side research is mostly concerned about raising funds or selling the assets that may have completed their financial life for the original investor
Sell-Side Research Activities
Across the types of Sell-Side managers, the following services can be effectively outsourced without any dilution in the quality
Company Profiling and Analysis
These may be the companies that may be suitable for M&A. Preparation of profiles by a third party also leads to unbiased views. A typical company profile includes meeting notes, earning analysis, business strategy, company overview, markets, management, and valuation. Sell-side due diligence is also part of this exercise.
A thematic research report explores a specific sell-side market. It carries all the details about the market, major players, innovations taking place, its future, and the scope of the play. Thematic research also builds on inputs from the experts in those areas. Expert interviews are conducted to uncover the insights not available in the secondary domain.
Pitch books are created to pitch the sell-side offerings. Pitch books are assisted for the design that complies with global financial standards. Well researched content is also prepared from the client’s feedback and market study
Fixed Income Securities Analysis
Analytics services to calculate various scenarios of returns for securities is a typical assignment. The scenario analysis of interest or returns changes could be built into the model to showcase the security analysis. Other quantitative and qualitative research can be effectively outsourced.
White Paper and PoVs
White Papers and PoVs are effective marketing tools for fund-raising. It shows the command of the Asset Manager on the market and the shape that it is going to take in the future. White Papers and Point of View documents are circulated to investors regularly for fund marketing. A well-researched and well-designed white paper goes a long way in creating a great impression. The research for these marketing materials could be effectively outsourced.
Mergers and Acquisition Support
M&A support span through list building, company profiling, due diligence, detailed due diligence, data room management, and post-merger integration. Much of the data-intensive work could be effectively outsourced to bring down the cost of acquisition. These projects are usually taken up by Investment Banks and Corporates looking for M&A.
Financial Modeling is an essential step to find out the valuation of the asset that the sell-side has to offer. A great financial model builds on reasonable assumptions and is flexible to take feedback from all stakeholders. This goes a long way in convincing the buy-side managers about the attractiveness of the deal. A financial model can be effectively outsourced to a competent agency that has experience in the space
Lead Generation Support
When an ideal profile of a buyer is shared, the outsourced team gets busy with finding similar firms, and within those firms, the relevant personnel who may be of interest to pursue further. These leads could be actioned as well, by the outsourced team. The result is setting up of relevant meetings for the sell-side to sell its offerings.
All funds that want to be in touch with all their potential investors use effective CRM to distribute fund documents, fund performance, newsletters, market reports, and other knowledge documents. A well maintained CRM is key to be in the eyes of investors continuously. The CRM needs to be populated with the relevant leads and pruned for irrelevant or outdated ones. The outsourced team delivers on this effortlessly. Also delivered are the knowledge pieces or white-labeled content that could be distributed to investors periodically
Structured Product Research
Marketing Documents, PoVs, and Business case or Investment case are prepared that are customized as per the client’s requirements.
Real Estate and Commodities Reports
A well-written report dealing with a GP’s area of expertise in Real Estate or commodities is not only useful from a marketing point of view but is also critical for creating trading strategies. A templated report for Real Estate and Commodities could very well be delivered by an outsourced team. All the content delivered is white-labeled and can be branded as per the client’s requirements.
Sell-Side Equity Research
Equity research using DCF modeling and comps is done to arrive at the stock price and the recommendations, to buy, sell, or hold. An outsourced team could track far more stocks than an internal team and can go into more depth. Tracking more stocks improves the sell-side decisions
In markets where a regulator plays a vital role, regulator reports are critical for operation. Any new law, new regulatory changes, or compliance requirement is analyzed in detail in the report. The report also suggests the recommended business action to take advantage of changes or avoid complications.
Confidential Information Memorandums/ Private Placement Memorandums
CIM or PPM and pitch decks are the most widely used fund documents. They serve an important marketing function but at the same time need to comply with regulatory standards. An experienced outsourced team could deliver on the requirements that are comparable to global standards of fund documentation
Macro-economic and Sector Reports
Macro-economic reports are prepared for geographies where the sell-side is interested. Sector reports are made for the specialized sectors for the Sell-side. Both these types of reports could either fulfill the Marketing or Strategy requirements of the Sell-side.
These are specifically customized reports covering a set of stocks or industries like sell-side credit research reports.
Magistral Consulting is a specialized research and analytics agency that has helped multiple sell-side firms in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia in outsourcing operations and delivering cost savings. To drop a business inquiry click here.
Magistral Consulting has helped multiple funds and companies in outsourcing operations activities. It has service offerings for Private Equity, Venture Capital, Family Offices, Investment Banks, Asset Managers, Hedge Funds, Financial Consultants, Real Estate, REITs, RE funds, Corporates and Portfolio companies. Its functional expertise is around Deal origination, Deal Execution, Due Diligence, Financial Modeling, Portfolio Management and Equity Research
For setting up an appointment with a Magistral representative visit www.magistralconsulting.com/contact
About the Author
The Author, Prabhash Choudhary is the CEO of Magistral Consulting and can be reached at Prabhash.firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries or business inquiries.