How Many Of These Expert Networks Are Being Investigated By The Feds?

don chuThe first arrest: Primary’s Don Chu

The X-factor in the FBI’s big investigation is what will be done about expert networks.Expert networks are a new phenomenon that seem suspicious to most investors. A poll on CNBC just showed that 60% of viewers say the concept of gathering information from industry insiders sounds unfair.

In recent years, however, they have become a basic tool for hedge funds, according to the WSJ.

So what firms are involved in the case? We can identify a few.

Don Chu of Primary Global Research LLC was the first arrest. Primary is a Mountain View, Calif. firm that delivers “up-to-the-minute industry information and analysis that helps investment managers generate alpha in their protocol.”

Primary is said to be one of several expert networks under investigation.

Guidepoint Global LLC is another firm with ties to the investigation. Dr. Yves Benhamou, who was arrested for insider trading earlier this month, served as a consultant for Guidepoint. The New York firm describes itself as “a primary research firm that provides investors and business decision-makers with on-demand access to its worldwide network of industry experts.

UPDATE: MedaCorp, a health care expert network used by SAC Capital, Diamondback and Frontpoint has closed.

We have also identified dozens of other expert networks used by Wall Street, based on information from people familiar with the industry and our own research. These include:

  • Alpha Sights “is a global knowledge broker connecting professionals seeking specialist knowledge with those possessing it.”
  • Atheneum Partners “connects the investment community and advisory firms with leading industry specialists around the globe in order to access key market information.”
  • Business Connect China (BCC) “is the premier provider of expert consultation, market intelligence, advisory services, investment, and events for the China market.”
  • Capvision Partners “provides its clients with access to its proprietary expert network in China.”
  • Clear Horizon Research “is an independent research house, based in Sao Paulo, which provides comprehensive, unbiased and customised primary research for investment professionals in the US and Europe who focus on LatAm, and Brazil in particular. Our internal team not only helps investment managers ask the right questions, but also connects them with the appropriate expert to answer those questions.”
  • CognoLink “is connecting the world’s top firms with a network of industry experts, creating unrivalled business intelligence.”
  • Coleman Research Group, Inc. “connects institutions with experts who help them make more informed decisions.”
  • DeMatteo Monness LLC  “is an independent primary research firm and full service broker-dealer serving the global institutional investment fund community. Founded in 1997 by Joe DeMatteo and Bill Monness, we provide our investor client base with access to primary sources of market intelligence through our industry leading Consultant Network.”
  • Evalueserve Circle of Experts caters to the research and advisory needs of investment firms, corporations, and law practices by providing access to valuable insights from frontline industry experts.
  • ExpertView “provides precision research services to Investment Managers, M&A Practitioners and Corporate Executives by combining primary research with expertise from active industry participants.”
  • Foglamp “provides unparalleled reach into more than 120 overseas markets, offering clients a competitive advantage through on-the-ground insights into investment-specific regulatory and market dynamics.”
  • Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc. “connects the world’s leading institutions with the world’s leading experts.”
  • Greenwood Research, LLC “is an independent research and analysis firm focused on delivering fundamental and actionable primary research data points to professional asset managers, private equity firms, investment banks, consulting firms, and key decision makers.”
  • Hakluyt & Company is a British professional services firm, specialising in business intelligence. It helps a set of mainly blue-chip clients build conviction by providing them with information gathered discreetly via a large independent worldwide network.
  • Informed Edge is a new expert networking business. We offer a bespoke service to high profile asset management clients who wish to test an investment thesis or gain additional insight and conviction into existing or future investments. 
  • Insight Alpha India Pvt Ltd is a primary research firm focused on finding relevant experts dedicated to providing institutional investors with access to leading industry professionals in India.
  • Intota “is the choice of business, technical, and legal professionals to connect with over 10,000 experts.”
  • Kevin Kennedy Associates Inc. (KKAI) “assembles teams of engineering and scientific expert consultants with the experience and skills necessary to solve the challenges that attorneys, insurance companies, manufacturing firms, and investors face.”
  • Maven Research, Inc. “is a global network of industry professionals, thought leaders, and experts who seek to connect with others to share their knowledge.”
  • MEDACorp “has amassed more than 35,000 healthcare experts, including key opinion leaders, experienced practitioners and other healthcare professionals throughout North America, Europe, Asia and around the world.”CLOSED
  • Medical Consulting Referral Inc. (MCRI) “helps our clients maximise returns by providing the best healthcare research, ideas and investment opportunities.”
  • Primary Insight, LLC “is a leading provider of access to a diverse, global network of experts across all industry sectors.”
  • PRNewswire – ProfNet is “an online community of tens of thousands of professional communicators, ProfNet was created in 1992 to connect reporters easily and quickly with expert sources at no charge. We now provide this same free service to other professionals looking for experts, including… consultants… corporate researchers… financial analysts”
  • Public Insight LP “provides institutional investors and corporations a cost-effective and reliable “one-stop” solution for their regulatory and public policy due diligence, research, and risk management needs – the only independent investment research firm to focus uniquely on regulated sectors. Clients benefit from customised consultations with Public Insight’s proprietary Analyst Network, comprising the foremost regulatory experts, attorneys, lobbyists, former elected and appointed officials, and investment analysts in the US as well as internationally.”
  • Reuters Insight facilitates secure connections between our clients and approximately 40,000 experts and thought leaders.
  • Roulston Research “offers Institutional Investors a network of traditional and non-traditional independent research sources.”
  • Sino Touch Group provides clients with direct access to its network of China industry expert – China Industry Expert Community (CIEC). 
  • Tribeca Insights Inc. “is a research service aimed at providing investment managers with access to top industry professionals.”
  • VeriMed Healthcare Network “is a comprehensive, independent group of physicians providing a full range of medical consulting to life sciences companies, financial services firms and healthcare content providers.”
  • Westlake International LLC “committed to help institutional investors rapidly find hard-to-get answers to proprietary investment questions relating to Chinese industries/companies and their impact on the global market.”
  • Zintro, Inc. “connects Clients (expert-seekers) with subject-matter Experts for consulting engagements (ranging from one half hour phone consults to multi-month on-site engagements).”

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