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Research boutique's fees uncovered ahead of Mifid II

Research boutique's fees uncovered ahead of Mifid II

The charging structure at London-based research firm has been uncovered by Bloomberg a few months before Mifid II rules are introduced. 

According to the newswire, Autonomous Research - which was founded in 2009 by a team of ex-Merrill Lynch analysts and is chaired by former Gartmore chief executive Lord Myners - is offering a 'pay-as-you-go' model for its European equity product. 

Sources close to Bloomberg have said Autonomous will charge $1,000 (£776) for a single stock report, rising to $5,000 for high-end industry research.

The firm also charges a single individual user $5,000 for access to its daily round-up of news and anyalsis. The price per client is believed to drop as more sign up to the service. 

Autonomous, which employs 24 analysts across its London, New York and Hong Kong branches, will continue to provide clients with the option of paying an overall fee, which includes a $50,000 charge for the read-only service for its European equity product. 

This charge doubles for time on the phone with sale specialists, increasing to $300,000 for access to analysts. The company is also said to have a premium product at a higher cost. 

Autonmous chief financial officer Jonathan Firkins told Bloomberg: 'We have been transparent with our clients on pricing for research since inception eight years ago.

'We have a clear and transparent pricing menu which we discuss proactively with existing and prospective clients.'

The new Mifid II rules come into force at the start of next year.  An integral part of the legislation is clarity on how much asset managers are paying for specialist research and how much of this cost is passed on to clients. 

As a consequence, a price war has emerged between banks, brokers and asset managers over research costs. 

The Bloomberg report suggests UBS plans to charge around $40,000 a year for five users to have access to its basic reports, while JP Morgan could charge as little as $10,000 for read-only access to its online portal. 

A number of giant asset managers have come out recently and said they intend to cover research costs. These include Hermes, Vanguard, JP Morgan and T Rowe Price.

UK wealth management firm Hawksmoor has also recently said it would cover research costs, although it questioned the industry trend. 

‘Hawksmoor is part of the growing band of investment and fund managers that will pay for research directly from our own coffers. That is seen to be the ‘right’ thing to do,’ head of research Jim Wood-Smith said in a note. 

‘But why? Do investors in a fund really believe that their managers should not have research? If the investors do not want to pay to give the managers the tools they need to do the job, then why have they invested in the first place? What about a desk? Or a biro? Or a telephone?’

Meanwhile hedge fund giants Brevan Howard and Tudor Investments have ditched their Mifid licences for Alternative Investment Fund Manager licences.

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