Merrill Lynch expands alternative research platform

Source: Bank of America

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's best-in-class alternative research offering, "Merrill Open Minds," has expanded to include The NPD Group, Litigation Notes and The 451 Group, bringing to 10 the number of third-party research providers available on the platform.

The new additions have been prompted by increasing demand from investors for more niche research from specialized resources.

Merrill Open Minds also has introduced "On Demand," through which eight alternative research providers on the platform can be accessed via a monthly or an annual contract.

"The additions of The 451 Group, Litigation Notes and NPD come at a time when institutional investors are increasingly demanding specialized research in their efforts to navigate today's difficult market environment," said Michael Lynch, managing director and head of Americas electronic trading and global commission management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"Many investors also want ready access to the alternative providers on an 'as needed' basis, which is why we are giving them the option of a monthly contract for eight providers on the platform," he added.

Merrill Open Minds brings to clients specialized research covering areas such as socially responsible investing, corporate integrity risk, federal legislation and regulation, litigation, healthcare, technology, media, energy and consumer surveys. Merrill Open Minds expects to continue adding new resources. Further information about each of these services is available through the Merrill Open Minds Web site at: www.merrillopenminds.ml.com.

To ensure its clients receive the best and most diverse research product, Bank of America Merrill Lynch chooses alternative research providers for Merrill Open Minds that complement its own in-house award-winning research offering.

The NPD Group provides consumer panel and point-of-sale and consumer panel information across a wide range of industries, including, beauty, technology, entertainment, fashion, food & beverage, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless. Clients, including manufacturers, retailers and the investment community, rely on The NPD Group to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels.

"We look forward to working with Merrill Open Minds because of the strength and experience of their sales team across the consumer retail landscape,"
said NPD's Natalie Seidman, president of financial services.

Litigation Notes was founded more than 15 years ago by Calvert Crary, an attorney with over 30 years of experience analyzing litigation with investment significance for institutional investors. Their focus is situations in which the potential outcome of litigation may factor into an investment decision, such as patent disputes, product liability and mergers & acquisitions.

"We are pleased to introduce our expertise in litigation analysis to Merrill Lynch's top institutional clients through our relationship with Merrill Open Minds," said Calvert Crary, founder and director of research for Litigation Notes.

The 451 Group tracks emerging information technologies applicable to enterprise IT, assessing the technology landscape and identifying key vendors and trends within fast-growing industry sectors.

"We chose to associate with Merrill Open Minds because of the size and expertise of the Merrill Lynch high-touch sales teams, particularly their experienced technology specialty sales group, which can effectively 'translate' complex messages to technology investors," said The 451 Group's chief executive officer, Martin McCarthy.

About the resources available through Merrill Open Minds

The 451 Group examines emerging and disruptive trends in software, storage, security, virtualization and other enterprise information technology. Its research identifies gaps in the product lines of large acquisitive vendors as well as the offerings and relative value of products offered by start-ups. Clients include vendors and service providers that create these products and technologies, the venture capital firms and other investors that initially fund these vendors, and the organizations that buy and use these technologies.

ASSET4 provides objective and measurable extra-financial information, incorporating a complete range of economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) information. This information enables users to improve investment performance, reduce risk, develop products and drive down research costs.

Audit Integrity rates more than 8,000 public corporations for corporate integrity risk. These proprietary ratings and analyses are used by investors, insurers, auditors and corporate finance professionals to identify and avoid high risk companies. Audit Integrity also forecasts risks involving equity performance, class action litigation, and material financial restatement.

Cypress Group provides insight on Washington policy to investment managers seeking to improve their analysis of sectors including financial services and health care, as well as M&A activity and other events. Cypress provides an edge to investment managers by using a rigorous research methodology and diverse network of Washington sources to forecast the probable outcome of policy changes.

Decision Resources, Inc. provides research on the trends and market potential in various healthcare industry sectors, as well as advisory and consulting services. Its client base includes large pharmaceutical companies, emerging biotechnology concerns, financial services, managed care organizations, and medical device manufacturers looking for research and advisory services.

Global Media Intelligence is a premiere source of data, analyses and forecasts for the global media industry, with a team of more than 40 media analysts providing detailed models and industry reports covering television, motion pictures, video games, mobile media, home entertainment and broadband media. Its client base includes many significant cable, media and entertainment companies looking to gain insight on market dynamics globally.

HPDI, LLC collates historic data on oil and gas production, drilling permits, transportation, gas plants, refineries and pricing and provides clients customized applications in order to format the data for GIS maps, charts, reports and exports for secondary applications. The products are used by many large oil and gas producers and pipelines in their analysis of oil and gas production trends.

Litigation Notes addresses the investment significance of corporate legal disputes in a clear and concise manner that is easily comprehensible to investors, covering a range of sectors with a focus on pharmaceuticals, major drugs, health care, biotechnology, technology and tobacco.

The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,600 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on The NPD Group to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. The NPD Group helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless.

Primary Source is a Merrill Lynch product offering, providing customized consumer market studies that give clients information about a product or service from the perspective of the end user. The goal is to provide clients with extensive, statistically-reliable and properly-interpreted channel information by conducting surveys of end users. Primary Source clients typically receive their reports and analyses within a week.

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