SINGAPORE, LONDON, 25 September 2017– Smartkarma, Asia’s largest provider of independent investment research, today announced the opening of its new UK office to serve as a hub to build out its independent research analyst community in Europe and support its buy-side investor clientele. Arzish Baaquie, who joined the firm in 2014 and previously led the Special Situations offering, is spearheading the growth of Smartkarma in the UK and will build a team based in Baker Street, London.
Smartkarma’s move to the UK coincides with major banking legislation, MiFID II, which takes effect in January 2018 and is forcing transparency around the supply and payment of research. The goal for European regulators is the ‘unbundling’ of research; rather than assets managers receiving research ‘free’ from banks alongside trading revenues, it must now be transparently and fairly priced and paid for. As the deadline for complying with MiFID II is fast approaching, institutional investors are seeking ways to improve their strategies with new innovative solutions in how they search for, access and filter the best research.
“The research industry is under significant stress from MIFID II, and it is no secret that we plan to take full advantage of this fractured market. Our transparent subscription model and open access to the complete ecosystem of research and analysts means that investors are MiFID II compliant and can access independent research through an innovative, cloud-based platform,” says Jon Foster, Co-founder and Chairman of Smartkarma.
Innovation has been slow within the research sector, generally limited to research aggregators and traditional banks uploading current offline offerings online. Smartkarma has taken a different, network approach, one which has seen huge success across numerous other digitally disrupted industries, such as music, TV or film. Currently, with over 400 independent analysts based across 15 Asian markets, investment managers globally can take advantage of Smartkarma’s expert insights, delivered when and how they need it. This network is now set to expand across Europe to extend the benefits of the platform with further local, in-country coverage.
Smartkarma’s community of analysts and experts coexist and collaborate on the Smartkarma platform, allowing investment managers access to independent and unbiased research and the authors that created it. By using a simple set of tools and personalised alerts and trending insights, information overload issues are addressed, removing clutter and bringing the most useful and timely research for any given event or investment strategy into focus One of the most innovative benefits to investors is the platform’s ability to provide differing opinions from multiple analysts, on the same topic. Never before have bullish and bearish insights been at the investors fingertips, enabling investors to join the dots and make their own profitable decisions.
Independent insight providers in Europe can register interest with Smartkarma and after a vetting process to ensure appropriate expertise and coverage, they can join the platform with publishing tools and data sets readily available. Analysts can maintain their focus on producing timely and effective research to the market, as Smartkarma facilitates the access of this content to market.
“We are the largest provider of independent research in Asia with over 400 analysts and I have been selected to help replicate that success in Europe,” says Arzish Baaquie, Head of UK at Smartkarma. “As the industry continues to evolve, we have already shown that we have reinvented how independent research is created, supplied and consumed. We are rapidly expanding our network of insight providers across Europe and establishing operations in London is a natural next step.”
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Smartkarma’s cloud based platform provides access to a wide range of independent research from over 120 investment insight firms, comprised of over 400 contributing analysts. Its community has written on more than 1700 companies across 15 Asian markets, offering unconflicted, on the ground coverage in areas under covered by the traditional research providers, including frontier markets, small and mid-caps and in-depth, event driven IPO analysis. Smartkarma notably provides investors with direct access to research contributors, creating a strong correlation between research demand and supply.
Smartkarma saves investors and insight providers valuable time and provides new ways to create, engage with and distribute insight with its innovative use of technology and direct access to experts through its responsive, intuitive platform. Its market changing business model also meets evolving regulatory requirements, such as MiFID II. For more information please visit www.smartkarma.com
About Arzish Baaquie
Smartkarma’s UK office will be led by Arzish Baaquie, who prior to Smartkarma, worked across several financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and Bloomberg LP. His most recent role was at TC Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on mergers and acquisitions, where he spent three years advising on various transactions across Southeast Asia. Arzish joined the Smartkarma team in 2014, and began writing insights under the Special Situations vertical, with a focus on merger arbitrage opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. He progressed to the position of Head of Special Situations, before taking a one-year sabbatical in 2016, to complete a Masters in Finance at London Business School. He is a recipient of the MAS Financial Scholarship, which is awarded to promising Singaporean financial sector professionals.