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Equity markets: Research revived as a selling point

Boutique equity trading firms turn to research; Trend brings new forms of analysis

With an increasing number of sales and trading boutiques opening their doors, research is becoming one of the key differentiators among competitors.

Mark Field set up Summit Securities, predominantly a high-yield and fixed-income sales and trading firm, in November 2007 to capitalise on this.

One of Summit’s key propositions is the research-based trading ideas that the firm offers clients. Field says that the larger institutions that offered research are suffering a loss of talent, and their clients are looking elsewhere. "In investment banks there is more of a focus on capital-raising, and it has become hard to justify the cost of research. A lot of boutiques have set up, mainly because there is a lot of talent out there looking for a home." Field says that the idea that research is now a core attraction to clients is taking hold. His firm has been approached by two equity sales and trading firms with joint ventures in mind, predominantly to draw on Summit’s research capabilities.

"There are many equity sales and trading firms but often they focus on execution – no frills and low cost. They are now seeing that to differentiate themselves they need to offer something more to clients, so they are looking to expand their research capabilities," says Field.

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