From the September 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Why Another Research Firm?

Not a day goes by, it seems, when there isn't a new piece of research on the advisory industry, especially in the practice benchmarking area. Coincident with the healthy growth of the advisory business, it seems the advisor research business is booming as well. So why do we need another research firm in the marketplace? We addressed the question in our interview.

Green: So with this advisor research that you're doing, who would you be competing with--is it Cerulli or Spectrem or Moss Adams? Though I can't think of any research that ties together the branding with how it gets to the advisor and then from the advisor to the client. What makes Cogent special?

Harrington: Some firms focus on the quantitative side--here's how big the market is; here's how big the particular financial advisor firms are. Others focus on secondary research--they may speak to a few people, come up with a premise, and go down the path on a particular topic area.

What we're trying to do is bring together primary research--interviews with live people, whether its advisors or clients--and very deep industry knowledge. Cogent is very well equipped to do that, given its long tenure in the research business and its very strong research methodology, and there's a reason why they wanted me. I have 20 years financial services experience building new products, managing businesses, working in the distribution culture of financial services. I'm here to help run the business, provide thought leadership, and to bring in those insights [from being] on the other side of the fence.

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