Going independent?

Point to consider when setting up as an independent analyst

Legal and Financial

  • If you already have an accountant, does he/she recommend you setting up as a Sole Trader or via a limited company? (Accountants can set this up for you.)
    (There are different tax / expenses allowances and banking requirements.)

  • If you are going to work from home, you can have a separate phone/broadband/fax in the name of your company but have you looked at how claiming general running expenses for the office room, such as electricity, will affect your council tax?

  • If not working from home, is there an instant office such as Regus near you?

  • Have you drawn up a realistic draft budget? Do you need help to do this?

  • Are you considering a fixed annual/six-monthly fee for your research or individual negotiation/client vote?

  • The VAT threshold is currently £81,000 of UK non-commission earnings over the rolling prior 12 months, with the current month as the 12th month. You can apply voluntarily if you find that you are paying a lot of VAT on goods bought in and it would benefit you financially to make quarterly returns but you must apply within the month after your qualifying income exceeds £81K.

  • Are you considering a contract with clients, particularly in respect of copyright?

  • Do you need FCA registration? If not, you may find it useful to have a letter from a respected compliance agent saying they have looked at your research and do not believe that it requires FCA registration as some larger companies are nervous dealing with unregulated IRPs.

  • Can you set up the administrative systems to keep on top of your database, invoicing, banking, legal and financial returns, etc., or do you need to out-source some or all of them?

Research production

  • Have you set up the template(s) for your research or do you need help with design?

  • Do you have the correct legal and regulatory disclosures and disclaimers on your template?

  • Who is going to proof your work before it is issued?

  • Might you need the (occasional) services of an editor?

  • Have you set up your web-based mail lists (maximum 50 addresses per mail-shot so your service provider does not think you are a spammer)?

If you are interested in starting a new independent research firm and are looking to find the best way to deal with the compliance conundrum, then we have friends that could help.

Messels has been operating in the independent research sector since 2004. Its owners have been working as analysts in the sector since 1990. It provides technical, fundamental and accounting research to buy-side institutions. It also runs a ‘compliance umbrella’ service for research start-ups backed up by a team of talented and experienced regulatory professionals.

It works like this: Messels is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and can ‘take on’ a new firm in independent research and provide immediate compliance cover (including the provision of procedures, systems and controls) allowing the firm to start trading, without having to wait for the long and expensive process of direct authorisation to be applied for and completed. With Messels, once up and trading, the new research firm can decide either to go for full authorisation themselves, or, at modest cost, remain an ‘appointed representative’ of Messels - effectively outsourcing compliance matters to us.

The charge for the service is modest and compares very favourably with either compliance consultants or the cost of setting up an internal regulatory capability.

Contact Tim Parker Tel: 07753 606 810. tim@messels.com

Annalise Hamilton joined Smithers & Co Ltd as General Manager in January 2000. The company was founded in 1989 by Andrew Smithers, a leading expert on financial economics and global asset allocation, who now writes a well received blog on FT.com (www.smithers.co.uk).

While at Smithers & Co Annalise’s responsibilities included all legal, financial and HR matters, including client and staff contracts, lease renewals, quarterly and annual accounts, VAT, setting up a corporate stakeholder pension, making regular returns on all required websites such as Companies House, HMRC, Data Protection registrations and the day to day running of the company including staff, suppliers and bank accounts.

She is overseeing the closing down of Smithers & Co before putting it in the hands of a voluntary liquidator and continues her work as COO of Pelham Smithers Associates, where she is currently applying for FCA registration.

Contact Annalise on her personal email, annalise@smithers.co.uk or her work direct telephone number, 020-3740 5503.

Back to top