March 7, 2022


SageCircle manages the analyst industry’s two longitudinal research programs



  • The study is established as a custom project for a telecoms industry leader to measure perceptions that give unparalleled insights into how vendors, technologies and analyst firms are shaping the digital future. A team at Theseus International Management Institute, now part of the EDHEC Business School, develops the the survey and collects the initial data. 

The study became a multi-client, public study in as a response to the acquisition and subsequent closure of the Kensington Group in 2002, whose extensive longitudinal study (led by Professor Efrem Mallach) of analyst relations remains the gold standard for AR evaluation. The survey filled the gap left by Kensington only partly, since it could not replicate the study’s qualitative element. The survey developed the brand equity approaches of two further business school professors: Kevin Lane Keller at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth  and Pierre Chandon at INSEAD (who assigned a group of nine postgraduates taking his brand valuation course to review our methodology). The research programme focused on the relationship between tangible and intangible elements, especially information and relationships.

Through the summer of 2004, four consultants from Theseus, the mid-career MBA programme of what is now the EDHEC grande école, took as their capstone project the task to fundamentally develop the project methodology. They compared the financial performance of 33 listed ICT firms with their AR performance. They found that the shares of firms with above-average AR had a two-year year return that was around 267% that of those with below-average AR (16% growth rather than 6%). Firms with AR programs in the top 20% had a 2 year return of 38.5%. The survey showed the danger for vendors of information asymmetry, and the survey has since then focused on analysts’ information needs.

Ian Scott was appointed as the research methodologist for both studies.

This allowed the survey to advance qualitatively by conducting more telephone interviews with analysts. This produced expected and unexpected benefits.

Predictably, the interviews gave much greater insight into analysts’ feelings about AR programs.

However, Scott also identified a scenario where the tonality of analysts’ spoken comments was in contradiction with their survey results: either the survey tonality was positive but the interview responses negative (like a major MNO), or vice versa (with an incumbent telco). Typically these were comments about consumer brands where there might be a contradiction between the weakness (of absence) of a corporate AR function and the work of the business to business sector.

  • Kea Company Group wins right to be licensor for the surveys.
  • SageCircle joins Kea Company Group, becomes the lead licensor for the surveys
  • The Analyst Observatory assumes responsibility for survey data collection. The five-year study will see data collected by the Observatory as part of doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
  • SageCircle advisors Ian Scott, Jasmine Richards, Robin Schaffer and Sarah Shamouelian join the Observatory’s research team to develop its qualitative research prior to the end of the five-year period.
  • The Association for Analyst Relations Partnership joins the survey program, offering practitioner guidance on the development of the surveys.
  • SageCircle replaces the Observatory as host for the surveys.
  • The Observatory’s former operations manager, Emma Hawke, joins Richards, Scott, Schaffer and Shamouelian at SageCircle.

Analyst Observatory co-director Duncan Chapple joins SageCircle as director of research and evaluation. Chapple had founded the Analyst Advocacy Study and Analyst Value Survey and, since 2022, led the qualitative Spoken Word Audit element of the Advocact Study.