By: Gui Costin
Originally posted on August 30, 2020
Last updated on April 29, 2022
Our company, Dakota, is a 3rd party marketing firm for boutique investment firms. We have raised over $30 billion since our founding in 2006 and have used our CRM and accurate data as a big competitive advantage. Why is it so important to us? Simple: salespeople (me being one of them) are expensive and you want your salespeople to be productive but having them do a lot of research work looking for who to call on is counterproductive. Thus, it has been important to us to supply our team with highly accurate and qualified contacts to call on.
Institutional investor databases can provide a good foundation of contacts for sales professionals. Below is a review of what I believe are the top institutional investor databases for an investment sales professional to consider.
What channel(s) do you cover? (Consultants, RIAs, Banks, BD, Direct Pensions, Sub-advisory, etc.)
What is your product structure? (Mutual Funds, Separate Account, LP, ETF, CIT, etc.)
You have to be very clear on what you want and what would be most useful to you in your career. As a fundraiser for the past 23 years, the only thing that matters to me is qualified leads of investors that buy what we sell - both strategy (asset class) and structure (mutual fund, LP, ETF, separate account). The initial goal, therefore, is to start with a good and accurate list of qualified leads, and make sure that list grows each day. A big top of the funnel of qualified buyers is the ultimate goal.
Institutional investor databases can help you start with a good list, and then provide you with new leads.
The first question most salespeople ask when looking at institutional investor databases is: “What does it cost, and what do I get?”
It depends on exactly what you want out of a database, as each one delivers a slightly different value proposition; and the cost of each is commensurate with that value.
For someone like me who has been raising capital for 23 years, I have a pretty strong opinion that if a database delivers accurate leads, we would be willing to pay almost anything. But, in reality, most databases don’t deliver 100% accurate contact information. So, we subscribe to give us an opportunity to start somewhere, and then do further research. We have always been willing to spend between $5,000 and $20,000 to give us information to move us in the right direction, which is at least somewhere to start.
I think a fair price for an institutional investor database is between $8,000 and $12,000.
However, each database delivers a slightly different value proposition as a mentioned above.
Here is a list of the leading institutional investor databases and their approximate price. Please don’t hold me to these exact prices as they change frequently, and most database companies will negotiate.
The descriptions are from each company’s web site. I offer some comments on the utility of each database at the end of this article.
It pinpoints prospects, identifies new sales opportunities, and builds lasting relationships using market leading data. MMD is your essential partner in finding institutional investors.
Estimated Cost: $5,000 - $15,000
Focus: Institutional Investors
Research and analyze companies, deals, funds, investors and service providers across the entire private investment lifecycle.
Estimated cost: ~$24,000
Focus: Private Equity, Private Funds, Venture, M&A
Indispensable data, analytics, and insights for alternative assets professionals around the globe.
Estimated cost: $5,000 - $30,000
RIA Database provides you with comprehensive profiles, data, software and analytics. More than 500 organizations rely on RIA Database data and marketing solutions to help them raise assets, and operate more efficiently. Our proprietary, web-based software allows you to sort, search, save and download targeted leads for your sales and marketing efforts. We maintain data on the entire universe of financial advisors.
Estimated cost: $5,000 - $20,000
Focus: RIAs, Banks, BDs, Family Offices
Discovery Data helps companies grow their business in the financial services and insurance industries. We provide detailed profiles on 40,000 firms and over 2 million professionals.
Estimated cost: $5,000 - $20,000+
Focus: RIAs, BDs
The IC Research Institute, established in 2014, is an independent provider of market intelligence data services on institutional investment consultants, realized by a unique combination of in-depth market knowledge and innovative information technology. The activities are designed to add value by making hard-to-find information accessible, and transforming fragmented data into a complete picture in order to accelerate the consultant relationship and sales management process. The institute’s core online service is a vital cloud-based NAVIGATION SYSTEM FOR CONSULTANT RELATIONS™ with truly global reach, supporting clients to become successful in consultant relations; and to save time, money and “nerves” by shortening the sales management process, and accelerating institutional business development. We’re in the business of finding new business – it’s about market intelligence that is of highly practical benefit for business development, sales, revenues, and ultimately relevant for profit.
Estimated cost: $14,000
Focus: Institutional Consultants
Mandate Wire provides money managers with rapid, reliable and high-value investment intelligence on RFPs, planned allocations and institutional asset flows in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Its core focus is on pension fund information, but it also tracks charities, insurance companies, endowment funds and more.
Estimated cost: $7,500+
Focus: Pension Fund Searches
FinSearches is the most powerful and complete sales and marketing tool available for the institutional asset management industry for defined benefit plans, nonprofits and consultants.
Estimated cost: $7,500+
Focus: Pension Fund Searches, information on institutions
Unparalleled perspective into the size, shape and dynamics of global asset management. Answering questions core to asset managers with analytics powered by unique quantitative and qualitative datasets and insight services curated by a team of industry experts.
Estimated cost: $15,000+
Focus: RIAs, BDs, Identifies what asset classes Advisors are invested in
FINTRX provides comprehensive family office intelligence engineered to help you identify, access, and raise family office capital.
Estimated cost: $10,000+
Focus: Family Office
Powered by the familiar and trusted Simfund tool, the Simfund Sub-advisory Module provides users with a comprehensive, integrated database of the sub-advised mutual fund and variable product universe.
Estimated Cost: $7,500+
If you value knowing what investment managers of certain institutions are investing in, Money Market Directory, Preqin and Pitchbook are choices in the $10k range, (PitchBook approximately $24k). They supply information on what State Pensions or Foundations are invested in to the best of their ability.
If you want a 100% alternative investment-focused database because you market a hedge fund or a private equity fund, Preqin caters for those types of managers.
If you want a more institutional-focused database with Foundations and Endowments, etc., Money Market Directory is a choice in the $10,000 range.
If you want the full version of all RIAs (10,000+), regardless of whether they are a money manager or wealth manager, Discovery and RIA Database give you that, again in the $5,000 - $10,000 range.
If you are a private equity fund manager; and you want to know both data on allocators and individually-owned companies, PitchBook is a good choice. It costs $24k / year for 5 users.
There are two public search services that also have a database. Mandate Wire and FinSearches are priced in the $5,000 to $7,500 range. They provide searches primarily from public pension funds.
Opportunity Hunter, owned by Broadridge, gives you the asset classes that certain RIAs, Banks and BDs are investing in. For instance, the database will tell you that ABC Capital has $23M invested in large cap growth mutual funds, $30M in emerging market ETF, etc. Cost is in the $15,000 range.
For a consultant-dedicated database, there is IC Research that has extensive information on Institutional Consultants. The cost is approximately $15,000, and $30,000 for a salesforce integration.
Calling on Family Offices? FINTRX is a database dedicated to the Family Office market. Its price is in the $10,000 range.
Interested in sub-advisory opportunities? ISS IM is the database for everything sub-advisory.
Do not expect all databases to be equal in their efficiency and function, even though they call themselves databases. Each has its own focus and nuance. Also, don’t expect the contact information to always be up-to-date or have the exact right person to call on. It’s not an easy task to keep tens of thousands of contacts up-to-date on a daily basis. Most databases provide a good starting point to start making sales calls, and that can be enough in itself.
Most investment firms do not have a CRM with accurate, deep or qualified data on institutional investors. Why? Because it’s a very hard thing to do. Keeping data up-to-date is time-consuming, and it requires dedicated resources. Meanwhile, most firms rely on salespeople to do the updating, and that is a weak strategy at best.
Most company CRM databases (like Saleforce.com) are 60%+ out-of-date at any given time and when you add in 25% annual turnover in the investment allocator business, it becomes obvious just how hard it is to keep a database up to date. Investment salespeople need help, and institutional investor databases can provide that help. I suggest getting a demo of each one and try them out for yourself.
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