The rise of primary investment research

Identifying and understanding the factors shaping sectors and companies is an important part of any analyst or fund manager’s role when conducting investment research. And in a world cluttered with information and data across a vast range of mediums from an array of providers, primary research has become a critical part of the investment process. 

What is primary investment research?

Awareness is continuing to grow that financial metrics alone do not always portray a complete picture when making investment decisions, leaving gaps that could – no matter how small – jeopardise investment outcomes. What we have seen in recent years is the primary research space gaining momentum against a backdrop of declines in the traditional investment research market. Spending on sell-side research was expected to drop 4.8% to USD 11.52bn in 2021 as asset managers continue to pare back their spending on investment research in response to MiFID II.1 

Instead, investors are turning to primary research to obtain differentiated content and perspectives about companies and industries that are unique and therefore hard to find elsewhere. They understand that the best insights come directly from those who have been there before, who have seen the business from the inside, dealt with the supply chain, and wrestled with the market. 

Analysis by Third Bridge of 40 players in the primary research sector shows that annual revenues have, on aggregate, risen sharply from USD 389m in 2012 to approximately USD 1.58bn in 2021. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a boon for primary research, with the sector experiencing a surge in interest from investors confronted with unprecedented uncertainty and market volatility. At the same time, investors are looking for resources that give them a competitive edge in their investment decision making. But for this to happen, investors need primary research partners that are independent, reliable and, above all, compliant.

What are expert networks?

Expert networks enable investors to connect with individuals that have granular knowledge and insight relating to specific companies or industries. They have become a core element of due diligence processes and are particularly attractive to investors carrying out deep fundamental research. There are estimates that some 4,500 firms within investments, strategy consulting and corporate strategy use an expert network  to enhance their investment decision making – and this figure is only increasing.

What does Third Bridge do?

Serving some of the world’s largest hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity funds and management consultancies, Third Bridge has been a leader in primary investment research for over a decade, connecting analysts with experts to uncover human insights that guide investment decision making. Our integrated offering combines access to unique and unbiased human insights content with a global expert network service.

Unbiased and completely independent, our research teams are guided by local knowledge and an acute understanding of value chains and industry dynamics. Our research content provides those sparks of information that ignite bigger and better decisions. 

Our vision to deliver leading intelligence and unrivalled insight has evolved into a global business with an expanding suite of products. We serve over 1,000 investment firms through our team of 1,300 employees across eight global offices. 

Third Bridge Forum

Third Bridge Forum is the biggest archive of expert interviews in the world, providing investors with critical knowledge to make smarter and faster decisions. Once transcribed, our clients can access interviews directly through Forum or via our distribution partners, such as Bloomberg. 

With a rigorous and proprietary primary research methodology that adheres to robust compliance standards, our team monitors key industries, deal flow and macro-economic trends to bring the most pertinent and timely issues into focus. Forum clients are able to access over 33,000 interviews with industry executives covering over 10,000 public and private companies. 

Third Bridge Connections

With a 99% consultation success rate, Third Bridge Connections puts investors directly in contact with industry executives through one-to-one consultations and private meetings, providing unfiltered insights and knowledge into companies and sectors. 

Through our profound understanding of markets and their key dynamics, we pinpoint the experts who can answer our clients’ questions and make a tangible difference to their decision making process. Just like Third Bridge Forum, we ensure maximum privacy and safety by asking all parties to follow our strict compliance framework.

Third Bridge Maps

As part of Third Bridge’s integrated research solutions, Maps is a revolutionary value chain product which Third Bridge clients have complimentary access to.

Maps presents public and private company value chains in a single view, helping investors fast-track early-stage research in minutes. Our analysts profile senior executives to capture their knowledge about a company, and these industry insights are synthesised to create each map. Third Bridge Maps enables investors to quickly get to the crux of what they need to know about a company, its value chain and its operating environment. Being laser focused early on results in richer research that cuts through the noise and brings greater clarity.

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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