Why Use Us

We are a research consultancy, with our roots in equity research. We are now applying the skills we have developed in that environment to a wider audience. The core of our offer is investment research, applied to unquoted companies as well as to quoted companies, and in the form of products such as industry research or consulting services.

Our credentials are first rate. Our team is headed by a top equity analyst with many years of experience both at leading investment banks and at two multi-billion dollar hedge funds. Supporting him are excellent analytical and support teams, aided by a network of affiliate companies to provide the appropriate industry and sector expertise and on occasion non-financial disciplines.

Background

Our company was founded by Stephen (Steve) Clapham in 2012. Steve then had over 25 years of experience as one of the top equity analysts in London. He has researched a number of industries, sectors and geographies. Steve has worked both on the buy-side and sell-side: he held senior positions at various leading investment banks (where he won numerous industry rankings in annual surveys, being voted for by many of the top investment institutions). More recently he has been a partner and head of research at two of the largest equity hedge funds in London. His credentials are simply first class, as can be seen from the various commendations throughout this site.

Supporting Steve are a team of financial analysts and a multi-disciplinary team, including leading designers and experts in data presentation. A list of the team and their experience can be found on the About Us page.

This team of talented analysts, mainly ex hedge fund, corporate finance or sell-side, produces quality and in-depth research. Our analysis of quoted companies and industries is very similar to that conducted in a top quality investment bank.

Our analysis of unquoted companies is best likened to that of a top 4 accountancy firm - we endeavour to do all the research ourselves using source accounts documents from Companies House, which is the best way to avoid data quality issues from offshoring or purchased generic data, although we may on occasion use standard databases to extract industry data.

Our industry reports are therefore, we believe, accurate, informative and insightful and at least as good as anything available elsewhere on those industries, and usually at a lower cost. We welcome any feedback on our reports and suggestions for additional industries to cover.

Why Use Us for Bespoke Research?

There are three principal reasons for using us for bespoke research projects:

  1. credentials: our credentials above are first rate and some commendations are included below, while we also discuss stock picking here
  2. cost: we are cheaper than our principal competitors which are investment banks and the big 4 accountancy firms
  3. speed; as a small team, with resources available on -call, we can respond immediately to requests and turn a project round quickly; if not we shall tell you.

Costs: Our costs are competitive when compared with our competitors and we believe that our analytical skills are among the best available and compare well with those generally available in the large accountancy firms and management consultancies.

Speed: We are of course not sitting around idly, waiting for your call, any more than the staff in a large organisation will be, but we can act quickly and be responsive to your deadlines. Our industry reports have flexible deadlines in order that we can manage peaks in our workflow and react quickly to client requests. You can also be assured of discretion.

You can see from the team biographies that we have extensive experience and can handle most research projects. There are industries in which we don't have the necessary specialism ourselves, for example pharmaceuticals and financials, but our affiliate Hardman & Co has expertise in these areas, and we can arrange an introduction. For most research projects, however, we can resource the project in-house.

Our service is unusual in that we can analyse both quoted and unquoted companies. We are therefore able better to contextualise a small quoted company, for example, in that we can look at financial parameters in a wider industry context. Margins for example may be comparable to quoted peers but could be significantly different from unquoted competitors - this can indicate an opportunity or, more often, a risk to the valuation.

When on the sell-side, we used Companies House filings extensively when analysing conglomerates like Hanson, Williams, and Tomkins; that was how we discovered the real businesses behind the conglomerate facade. That research was certainly unusual 20 years ago in the age of microfiches; today, although the data is much more accessible, it's still unusual for an analyst at say an investment bank to have the time to take this trouble, let alone the inclination.

It's our belief that although Companies House data is far from a perfect source, it's really helpful in that it puts businesses in context - understanding where margins and returns lie within the range for an industry is critical to compiling credible forecasts and valuations based on sustainable profitability.

We would encourage potential clients interested in having some bespoke research conducted to contact us for an assessment of likely costs.  An exposition of Steve Clapham's stock picking experience and skills can be found here.

See our presentation: Behind the balance sheet presentation from BehindtheBalanceSheet

Commendations

We asked a few people to comment on our abilities in investment and financial research:

"Steve Clapham was one of the analysts following lastminute.com when it had a London quote and he is certainly a highly capable and very experienced investment analyst."

Brent Hoberman, serial internet entrepreneur, Cofounder mydeco.com, made.com, PROfounders Capital

"Steve was one of the top sell-side equity analysts following British Airways for many years, and his detailed analysis, interpretation and understanding of cash flow and balance sheet, was one of the best on the street."

George Stinnes, Director British Airways and former Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations

"Steve is one of the most perceptive analysts I have worked with in 30 years in the industry. Not only does he have a deep understanding of the companies he covers, but he also has the ability to quickly grasp the key issues in a business and find crucial points in a clinical manner which other analysts have missed."

Keith Hiscock, CEO, Hardman & Co

"I worked with Stephen Clapham over a 2 year period as CEO of a quoted airline. Steve's analysis, insight and strategic thinking helped us to shape our business model, better understand the industry economic dynamics and ultimately build a better business model. His thorough and detailed analysis were at the forefront of aviation analytics."

Lawrence Hunt, Director, Low Cost Travel Group, and serial entrepreneur

"I have known Steve Clapham for over twenty years, and he was one of the top analysts covering BAA plc during my time on the Board. The directors always had a high regard for the quality of his financial analysis."

Brian Collie, Chairman McArthur Glen and Jurys Inns Hotels, Non-executive Director at Expansys plc and former Retail Director, BAA plc

"Stephen has a wealth of experience providing thoughtful, deeply-researched investment recommendations."

Jeremie Carrot, Portfolio Manager, Tedder Family Office

Seeing the Tenant Analysis Report made me realise how superficial the analysis in our industry has been to date.

Trevor Silver, CEO Landid and former CEO Akeler Group