The last 18 months has presented a huge test for the sell side research providers in the way they must deliver value to their clients. Interactions that were once face-to-face have changed irreversibly overnight, and this has led to transformational change in the way research is being distributed and consumed. 

In June we brought together a group of expert panelists who are at the forefront of these changes and adaptations in the research market which has accelerated rapidly since March 2020. 

Here are the 5 key points we took away from the discussion on the future of the research product: 

– Tech has done the heavy lifting, replacing the conference rooms, the international flights and to some degree in person conferences. We are seeing the acceleration of smart servicing.

– The key to smart servicing is that both clients and service providers want a single source of truth, not a series of disconnected systems within an organization. From the research product perspective: virtual meetings and events will continue, maybe 30-50% of where it is at now.

– There’s been huge growth in what existed before as experimental research content (video, podcasts, audio format) and interactive content. Consumption of those will now be mainstream.

– Access to multimedia formats, corporate access events, smart servicing tools will configure aspects of each relationship. Research is evolving into more of an experience than a product. Personalization and brand building in social media is key to growth.  

– ESG research product development is in full swing. Clients are looking to the sell side to figure out what matters and be able to create broader screens that allow single stock investment decisions. Single stock integration is the gold standard. 

Digitalization is at the heart of the change, and just as technology revolutionised the trading floor, it is now replacing conference rooms and international flights as a key medium of exchange for ideas and insight. A two hour face to face meeting between analyst and portfolio manager will still exist, but only after a conscious decision on the value proposition from each side. Innovation on formats and delivery channels from providers just went from something to plan and consider to a business critical exercise.

At Substantive we are monitoring the changes in the research market with over 80 buy-side firms across our network. Adaptations to delivery, consumption and behaviour bring new questions around cost and value – our unique datasets and insights are helping clients to efficiently navigate this evolving landscape.

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