WHO WE ARE
ACE Consensus was incorporated in 2013. The company is backed by the Said Business School’s Seed Fund, part of the University of Oxford. Our shareholders include Jenson Funding Partners, senior executives from industry, and management.
Alex Money is the company’s founder and managing director. Formerly a fund manager at Citigroup and Bessemer Trust, he has some 20 years of investment industry experience. At Temple Bar Advisory, he built the investor relations practice to include clients from under £100m to over £100bn by market value. Alex holds masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, where he is concurrently a research fellow at the Smith School. He is also a member of the Education Committee of the UK Investor Relations Society. More information.
WHAT WE DO
ACE gathers consensus forecasts on behalf of listed companies, directly from the research analysts who cover them. Our proprietary approach involves creating a bespoke template of performance indicators for each client company, which is dynamically linked to their analysts’ earnings models.
Data are uploaded to our digital platform, and consolidated into a variety of outputs including Excel spreadsheets, charts for internal reporting, and interactive visualisations that can easily be embedded into clients’ investor relations websites, such as this example:
WHY WE DO IT
When it comes to listed companies, analysts and investors, there is surprisingly little consensus around consensus forecasts. Most companies now gather analyst estimates independently of third-party aggregators. However, approaches vary markedly from company to company. Some publish consensus data on their public websites, while others might only disclose it to contributing analysts. Moreover there is no uniform approach in terms of what data items are being requested, how often and for what periods. There are even strategic ambiguities around consensus forecasts. For example, is the focus on guiding to a tight band, or are a wide range of market views deemed acceptable?
There are also differences amongst research analysts, in terms of their willingness to contribute estimates. Sometimes this reflects their house policy, but more often it is a judgement made by individual analysts about the time it will take them to provide their forecasts, versus their perceived value of the consensus data. In what is a crowded marketplace of data providers, analyst contribution rates are generally falling, except for requests originated either by, or on behalf of, the listed companies themselves.
Amongst investors, opinions around the utility of consensus forecasts vary widely. Some regard them as little more than a contrivance that companies routinely use in an attempt to manage expectations by “under-promising and over-delivering”. Others however follow changes closely, viewing consensus forecasts as an important leading indicator of performance and momentum. Still others will follow a subset of forecasts, based on a select group of analysts. In North America, the recent emergence of ‘crowd sourced’ forecasts, provided by anonymous members of the public has gained perhaps surprising currency.
In short, it is a confusing environment, but many do not expect the current status quo to persist. Forthcoming regulatory changes likely mean that fund managers will have to be transparent in how they pay for the services that they receive from brokers and others. In a paid-for research environment, analysts may be less willing to provide forecasts to commercial third-party aggregators for free, particularly where these data are then being re-sold to investors. As a result, traditional sources of consensus estimates may become unrepresentative. This could increase the materiality of company compiled consensus forecasts, and the expectations that analysts and investors have of them.
ACE exists as a subscriber service solely for listed companies. Our processes are independent and auditable. Unlike commercial third-party aggregators, we do not resell the data that we collect. We anticipate changes in the regulatory environment and design our protocols to exceed the highest standards of best practice. We provide companies with the tools to optimise collection, analysis and dissemination. Our existence depends on the integrity of our approach, and the quality of our data. We reject the notion that consensus forecasts are simply a contrivance to manage expectations. Instead, we believe that high quality forecasts remove information asymmetries and provide unique strategic insights to companies, analysts and investors. Our mission is to make this a consensus view.
WHERE WE ARE
We are based in the centre of Oxford, where our software was developed. If you would like a meeting, we would be delighted to host to you at the Oxford Launchpad, in the Said Business School. Equally we travel regularly around the UK and Europe, so would be pleased to arrange a brief demonstration of the ACE platform at your convenience. If you are based further afield, it is easy for us to provide a virtual demonstration.
To contact us, please call +44 (0) 1865 900 900, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.