How is MiFID II Impacting Research Budgets?
At Quark our clients include innovative leaders in investment research, the majority of which are sell-side producers of research. To best serve these clients we stay active in several forums and standards groups that are watching and responding to the impacts of the new regulations. This activity, plus ongoing conversations with our clients, gives us unique insight on the impact of MiFID II in investment research marketplace. One of the most important topics on the minds of those in the industry: How is MiFID II impacting research budgets?
At this time we know that institutional investment firms are struggling to define research budgets because:
1) They don’t know how research is going to be packaged and priced. Most research producers are providing some basic pricing information in large packages, but the entire marketplace is just now being developed – so no one currently knows what the pricing and packaging will be in 1-2 years from now as the participants settle into this new marketplace.
2) The buy side is still grappling with how/when/if to charge their clients for investment. This is made considerably harder because the US is not implementing the MiFid II regulations and cross-border investment relationships make chargebacks to clients difficult to allocate, defend, and even calculate.
Another major topic the industry is grappling with is whether some managers will reduce their investment in research at the expense of client returns. This affects both the clients and their investment managers as well as potentially impacting smaller stocks and industries.
First, as investment managers will have limited budgets to spend on research, they will certainly not have access to the same quantity of research they had previously. However, they will have buying power and will be able to compare research offerings, create their own ratings and valuation measurements for research quality, and be able to demand better research from their chosen providers.
Most industry experts estimate that investment managers were receiving access to over one million research documents per year. Clearly no individual or even complete teams can consume that much information, and talk amongst investment managers is consistent: most of that content was just noise anyway. As one simple example, institutional investors who take a longer view of their investment portfolio do not really care, nor want intra-day analysis, but research producers send those reports more as a marketing and branding effort to keep their name in the investor’s view. Reducing the noise will also help the research producers to focus on and improve their highest value research.
Arguably, it takes as much or even more time and effort to research smaller companies and niche industries, but will investment managers be willing to pay the same or higher fees for research produced for these smaller segments of opportunity? Without coverage, will smaller and newer companies and sectors get less investment and therefore struggle to succeed?
Yes, there is a danger that – especially during investment volume downturns – reductions in budget for research could impact results. But that risk appears to be more than offset by the ability for investment managers to demand and receive higher quality research where the new competitive marketplace will require research producers to create better, more usable research in order to compete for their slice of those limited research budgets.
So, these two main issues intersect for producers of investment research who want to remain competitive in the era of MiFID II. Is it possible to produce high-value research while driving down research costs?
Absolutely. And to do so, forward-thinking investment research firms are looking to technology. Traditionally, research has been created in a highly manual, copy/paste work effort to create monolithic, print-focused PDF documents which are often highly repetitive in their content.
For example, a quarterly equity report will have a single, first-page summary, a longer multi-page summary, and then a series of expanded, detailed topics that are covered in the summary along with all the disclosures and disclaimers. And, as a PDF or even a static HTML file, the charts and graphs are frozen images representing snapshots of rich data and analysis models. An investment manager must work hard to get to the detail they need at any given moment, and trying to compare analysis from different producers is extremely time consuming. With their new buying power, investment managers can start to demand higher quality research: in depth and focus of content, but also in technical value to assist in their business process.
Research should be available in rich, interactive HTML supporting:
- Interactive charts and tables that allow the investment manager the same or better data tools than a personal investor using web-based investment tools
- Research documents that are richly described with metadata – this exists today and is shared between producers and distributors, but rarely is directly accessible to investors except through search fields
- Content with standardized embedded semantics so that they can easily find and even compare “Risks” between sequential research documents on the same topic by the same producer, and even better if enabled across the same topic by different producers. Another example is being able to do faceted search within one or more research documents so that searching for a specific company or ticker can be limited to that company’s name being used in specific context such as “competitor.”
Technology can help solve these problems by applying content automation to both the production of research and the consumption of research.
It isn’t clear that investors nor research producers have had the time to understand the coming changes that will be required when investors finally start taking advantage of their buying power and a competitive marketplace. Both sides have been running hard just to be able to participate in this new marketplace. But in very short order, one to two years, the new dynamics of supply and demand for research will force a dramatic improvement in the quality and value of research which could easily dwarf the benefit of MiFid II’s intend impact on research: avoiding conflicts of interest for trading banks that provide research as a free service to its investor clients.
Quark Partners with The Semantic Web Company
Quark is thrilled to announce our partnership with The Semantic Web Company, the leading provider of graph-based metadata, search, and analytic solutions. As part of our new partnership, Quark will integrate The Semanitic Web Company’s PoolParty solution with Quark’s content automation platform.
PoolParty is middleware that helps organizations manage corporate knowledge models, extract useful knowledge from big data sets, and integrate both structured and unstructured content. We’ll integrate PoolParty with the Quark content automation platform through a lightweight API, which will enable global businesses to enrich their content semantically. The integration blends narrative content with data to improve searchability and delivery.
Advanced Metadata Informs Content Delivery
Delivering content to the right consumers at the right time requires discipline and consistency around terms and labeling. Now with PoolParty, Quark’s clients can leverage advanced metadata features to further inform the delivery of information based on consumers’ specific requirements.
“Our collaboration with the Semantic Web Company and PoolParty brings together two best-of-class platforms and unlocks the business value of digital information like nothing else on the market today,” said Dave White, Quark CTO. “The integration of our solutions facilitates the most successful initiatives around content reuse and discoverability, semantic search, machine learning, enterprise data integration, and more.”
Andreas Blumauer, CEO of Semantic Web Company and product architect of PoolParty Semantic Suite added, “PoolParty provides tools for different roles as subject matter experts, information architects, knowledge engineers and developers. It is cross-functional teams that make dynamic content management happen. Quark end users will heavily benefit from semantically enriched content.”
Read coverage of the new partnership in KMWorld.
Sebastian Gabler and Helmut Nagy of The Semantic Web Company (PoolParty) join Quark's Jason Aiken in Washington D.C. for Taxonomy Boot Camp 2017.
Quark Releases the Content Automation Trends Report 2017
Today Quark released the Content Automation Trends Report 2017, a complete look at our second annual study conducted in conjunction with market research firm InfoTrends. This year we surveyed 252 businesses worldwide with respondents spanning a range of industry sectors, departments, and job roles.
As Quark continues to push enterprise content management (ECM) to the next level with content automation, we set out to gain insight on current practices for managing content throughout its life cycle, uncover challenges content teams face, and better understand technology spend and investment outlook.
Our findings confirm that while digital transformation is driving content initiatives for most organizations, content teams continue to struggle to meet the need for engaging, device-specific content. In fact, less than 20 percent of study respondents are confident their content is consistent across channels. This, along with other research findings, indicates a need for large organizations to move beyond basic file sharing and traditional ECM in order to remain competitive.
- Businesses spend on average $779K a year on content-related technology with the highest budgets reported in financial services ($1.4M in 2017).
- The key objective driving businesses to invest in content-related technology is improving customer satisfaction, which mirrors results from 2016. However, efforts to reduce costs and improve compliance increased noticeably between 2016 and 2017.
- Digital transformation initiatives are driving a focus on content. The top two initiatives noted by respondents are improving the intranet/portal content consumption experience for employees and moving content online.
- Email and PDF are still major pain points. Most respondents indicated they spend too much time managing content and have difficulties with PDF (70%) and email (78%) as tools for reviewing content.
- Most businesses do not accurately know who is consuming their content (13%) or on which device it is being consumed (14%). Meanwhile, stakeholders continue to require an increasing amount of Web and mobile content.
- The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning technology for content is still very nascent with the strongest application found in customer service-related content (22%).
Download a free copy of The Content Automation Trends Report 2017.
Quark Named a Gartner Cool Vendor in Content Services
Quark is thrilled today to announce that we have been named a Cool Vendor in Content Services for 2017 by Gartner. Quark is one of four companies included in the report for displaying innovative offerings in the realms of content creation, automation, integration, and protection that can extend how content is accessed across repositories in a secure and compliant manner.
Content Services is the new research category that replaces Gartner’s coverage of enterprise content management (ECM), as is noted in the blog article “The Death of ECM and Birth of Content Services.”
For more details, download the full Cool Vendors in Content Services report from Gartner, which also features ActiveWrite, Votiro, and Xillio.
About Quark’s Content Automation Platform
Quark’s content automation platform is comprised of a centralized component content management system along with fully integrated capabilities for creating, managing, publishing, and delivering multi-channel content. The platform enables the creation and management of content components that can be tagged, searched, updated, and reused across multiple channels throughout the content lifecycle. With componentized content – rather than static files – organizations can deliver business-critical content to the right audiences at the right time – automatically.
The world’s most recognized enterprise organizations choose content automation to dramatically improve processes for creating, managing, and delivering a range of content and content types, from standard operating procedures and product documentation to investment research reports, legislation, and more.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Garter’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.