Frost Consulting: Harnessing Market Structure Change
Frost Consulting was established in 2007 to meet an increasing need to provide transparency and analysis of the rapidly growing, but opaque, global equity unbundled commission market. Key client challenges included understanding both the potential magnitude and competitive implications of market structure change. Multiple analytical frameworks designed for different types of industry participants defined commercial risk/reward templates that served as a basis of evaluating strategic options.
The wide-ranging global experience of the principals in varied financial markets fostered stong convictions about the most effective ways to manage (inevitable) market structure evolution. Engaging change, rather than ignoring it, is often central to an organization's ability to successfully manage industry transition. As new structures and products evolve, historical relationships, no matter how longstanding, are frequently tested. Doing nothing can be a "big bet". Understanding the key economic, client and regulatory drivers of our clients' own end-customers is central to the Frost offering.
Externally, Frost understands the vertical and horizontal extensions of the unbundled research procurement process - from research identification to payment. Inside complex client organizations Frost recognizes the cross- departmenal silo co-ordination and institutional process required to design and deploy unbundled strategies.
Our foremost concern is creating strategic advantage and mitigating risks for clients. We balance risk and reward by maintaining ongoing dialogue with related product/service providers to identify changing methodologies/opportunities.
Frost's entire client-centric approach is predicated on a dynamic and forward-looking analysis of the market(s) in which the client competes.
Frost has substantial experience in multiple aspects of commission unbundling market structure change and potential solutions to optimize performance for many types of market participants.
Neil Scarth - Principal
Neil Scarth has held a wide range of roles in asset management and investment banking in Europe and North America over the last 25 years, ranging from running equity businesses at global banks to launching and managing various asset management products. Neil has comprehensive knowledge of the strategic and competitive framework that governs the inter-relationships between plan sponsors, asset managers and investment banks.
His portfolio management experience has emphasized financial services in equity long/short (Deephaven Capital International /London, Symmetry Management/New York) and pension/mutual fund advisory (Trilogy Global Advisors/New York). Investment banking experience includes running integrated institutional equity business units for ABN-Amro and Merrill Lynch. Prior positions included posts in equities management, equity research and private banking. Neil was a member of the UK Investment Management Association's Research Review Advisory Panel which helped craft the association's response to the FCA on research commissions. Frost was sponsored by CFA UK and the CFA Institute to write a White Paper on Equity Research Valuation to help asset managers meet new regulatory requirements. Neil holds an MA from the University of Southern California and a BA from Carleton University.
Neil Scarth - Principal
Susan Walton is a specialist consultant serving both the sell-side and asset management communities on many aspects of traditional and "alternative" research products. Prior to Frost, her consulting clients included Instinet and Goldman Sachs.
Ms. Walton's current focus is on commission management strategies and optimizing research production for the digital distribution environment. Ms. Walton was the Global Head of Electronic Commerce at ABN-Amro (1998-2001). Previously, Ms. Walton was a Director and Founding Partner of Caspian Securities, a global investment bank (1995-1998). Ms. Walton was the Deputy to both the Global Head of Research and Chief Operating Officer of Baring Securities and was a founder and board member of Brokerage Information Group BIGAsia, an industry pressure group supporting the interests of research producers. Previous positions included roles at UBS and Bain Consulting. Ms. Walton was educated at Harvard University, London Business School and London University.
PJ Davies - Senior Advisor
PJ Davies has had a wide variety of roles in asset management and software. He served as a senior portfolio manager at Irish Life specializing in Asian equities. Subsequently he spent 12 years at Pioneer Investments in Dublin, where his responsibilities included senior fund management roles, leading the global consumer research team, and acting as Head of Research.
PJ also served as the Managing Director of Quest, Canaccord's proprietary stock screening, analysis and valuation software platform heading the team overseeing system development and distribution.
PJ has degrees from Oxford University and the Cass Business School.
Francois Gour - Senior Advisor
Francois has been in the investment management and investment banking industry for over 25 years. At Fiduciary Trust, Mr. Gour managed mutual, endowment and pension funds. . He was the co-founder and managing partner of Themavest LLC, a firm with a thematic investment strategy.
His sell side experience includes being an Emerging Markets Equity Strategist at Credit Lyonnais Securities and Co-Director of research at Caspian Securities in New York. More recently, Francois has focused on European markets at Oddo Securities, Sal. Oppenheim and Commerzbank. Mr. Gour holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia and an MBA in Finance from McGill University.
Francois is based in New York City.
Kirsty McLaren – Senior Advisor
Kirsty has been in the investment management and investment banking industry for 16 years, spending time in Hong Kong, New York, Boston and London. As a portfolio manager, she specialised in Asian and emerging markets equities at both traditional asset management firms and hedge funds, including Rothschild Asset Management and Sofaer. She also served as equities research manager for Rexiter Capital Management. Kirsty’s four years on the sell side were spent on the Asian equities sales desk at JP Morgan.
Kirsty has a PhD in finance from Cambridge University, and is a CFA and CAIA charterholder.