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I would be very interested in seeing some of these guys' work. From Dow Jones Financial News

 Morgan Stanley launches research service

14 Apr 2008

Morgan Stanley has created a unit to provide customised research for hedge fund managers and other clients as investment banks review their research operations and consider how to boost commissions.

The bank has set up AlphaWise, led by Ajit Agrawal. The group conducts customised primary research for hedge funds and asset managers, including market research and using expert networks, a pool of industry specialists in specific segments or regions.

Agrawal is a managing director within research at Morgan Stanley and heads AlphaWise. He joined from consultancy McKinsey & Company in 2004 and led the creation of research services to support analysts within Morgan Stanley research.

Morgan Stanley, through AlphaWise, has formed a partnership with Gerson Lehrman Group, a US company that provides a network of specialists and software to manage their use on a short-term or long-term basis. Gerson Lehrman has more than 175,000 specialists around the world and more than 750 clients across all industries, including large buyside firms.

Alexander Saint-Amand, president and chief executive of Gerson Lehrman Group, said: “In creating AlphaWise, Morgan Stanley is leveraging its considerable expertise in research towards something new. AlphaWise is a small research team that buyside clients can hire to do proprietary research through our specialist network.”

Investment banks have been looking at ways of getting more non-traditional research to their clients. At the beginning of last year Goldman Sachs launched Hudson Street Services, in which the bank takes equity stakes in alternative research houses and distributes its product to its clients.

Last week Merrill Lynch launched Merrill Open Minds, a service that gives its clients access to research conducted by seven independent providers, while UBS has bought a minority stake in Integrity Research Associates to give its clients access to the consultancy which evaluates 1,700 alternative research firms.

Saint-Amand said: “We are interested in establishing research partnerships with all of the global investment banks. Morgan Stanley put a lot of thought into this effort and has a really good team.”