Initially hedge funds, but expert network services expanded quickly to serve the wider financial industry, reaching private equity firms, asset managers, banks and management consultants. Consultancies, in particular, offer significant growth and correspondingly, firms focusing on consultants are among the fastest-growing in the industry. Recent years have also seen a notable growth in corporate work, driven by former consultants now leading corporates and expert networks, actively focusing sales efforts on corporates." - Jon Younger, Forbes
Investors and others are increasingly utilizing expert networks like Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and AlphaSites to instantly get answers to key questions. It's like calling a friend in the business, but these calls are highly regulated to ensure compliance with confidentiality requirements. The results are quick and actionable - particularly when paired with analysis on trends and market data (SGC Ventures provides this service).
Bloomberg published this article, "Investors Are Paying $1,300 Per Hour for ‘Expert’ Chats (click here)" earlier in the year, describing the process and its growing popularity. A few excerpts are included below.
Experts On Demand
Research spending on expert networks to soar past $1 billion in coming years. Now that banks have stopped giving equity research for free under a new European Union law, some money managers are opting instead to spend their cash speaking with experts in fields as trendy as artificial intelligence or as niche as sausage packaging.
“They seem to be contacting everyone like mad,” said Phil Chapple, the chief operating officer at London-based hedge fund Monterone Partners, who at some points this year was getting at least two calls a day from networks trying to sign him up. While they used to look expensive, “now if you look at some of the pricing coming out of banks, it does get into the table more,” he said.
The likes of Gerson Lehrman Group, the dominant American expert network, and European rivals Third Bridge or AlphaSights all compile their own private databases of consultants from around the world. Some basic packages charge $100,000 per company for the service of pairing employees with the right experts, which can be topped up if they need more phone time. Fees of the most sought-after consultants give high-flying lawyers a run for their money.
Access article here.
Sara Conte is a frequent contributor to online discussions about strategy, due diligence, branding and entrepreneurship.