Standard & Poor’s and Financial Research Corp. announced a content-licensing and distribution agreement Thursday whereby FRC data will be available on S&P’s MarketScope Advisor platform for financial advisers. Terms of the agreement, including financial considerations, were not disclosed. An S&P spokesman denied the deal is a precursor to an acquisition of FRC from its parent, private equity firm Mercatus Partners LLC.
“We are pleased to be expanding the distribution of our research from mainly assets managers to the wealth management space,” said Bruce Fador, chief executive officer of FRC. “We intend to bring FRC’s world-class research product more directly to individual financial advisers. By making our material available on Standard & Poor’s MarketScope Advisor, we are taking a major step forward in achieving that goal.”
FRC will work with S&P’s editorial staff to provide what S&P characterizes as “current, actionable information to help advisers provide the best and broadest service to their clients.”
William Okun, S&P’s executive managing director for investment research, said his company’s aim is to provide “the best functionality, powering the richest and most insightful information and analysis.”
Financial Research Corp. founder and former CEO Neil Bathon, now running FUSE Research, said of the S&P deal, “Coming out with a product that goes in a different direction is a good move for them.”
FRC has changed many hands in the past decade and a half. In 1996, Bathon sold FRC to Boston Institutional Group, parent company of Funds Distributor Inc. BISYS then acquired FRC in 2003. Four years later, in June 2007, Citigroup acquired BISYS. In November 2008, Citi sold FRC to Mercatus for an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million and is rumored to still have a stake in the company.
Fador has only been CEO of FRC since June 2008. Previously, Luis Fleites ran the company for four years, from 2006 until earlier this year, when Mercatus placed two of its partners, Bob Hedges and Teresa Epperson, at the helm of FRC as interim co-chief executives.
Fador formerly was COO at Decision Resources Financial, a division of Decision Resources Inc., a Waltham, Mass publisher best known for its pharmaceutical and biotech resaearch. From 1992 to 1998, he was president of Thomson First Call, now Thomson Reuters.
Fleites continues to work at the firm as vice president and director of retirement markets.
Commenting on the new S&P-FRC partnership, Burton J. Greenwald, president B.J. Greenwald Associates, said: “It is obviously a big step forward for FRC. The S&P platform extends their distribution substantially and also adds a ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of approval to their work. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually S&P acquires them outright.”
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