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Visible Alpha CEO Scott Rosen: “I’d like to help inspire a movement toward more respect and civility in the public space”

Something that is important and incredibly timely now would be a movement toward respect and civility in the public space. We need to stop demonizing the other side and acting as though only our own views are worthy of consideration and start engaging with one another and working towards a common understanding. In all likelihood, […]


Something that is important and incredibly timely now would be a movement toward respect and civility in the public space. We need to stop demonizing the other side and acting as though only our own views are worthy of consideration and start engaging with one another and working towards a common understanding. In all likelihood, we all want the same societal benefits but have different approaches on how to achieve them. If we were more respectful and open, we could accomplish so much more.


I had the pleasure to interview Scott Rosen the CEO of Visible Alpha.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I began my career as a sell-side equity analyst in Hong Kong — I believe as the first brokerage analyst covering China, long before that market was open. I spent six years as an analyst and eventually a director of research before starting a small company focused on research dissemination, which was ultimately sold to I/B/E/S. I then served as the Director of Research for I/B/E/S, which was bought by Thomson Financial, where I was subsequently put in charge of Thomson Financial’s FirstCall research business and later Thomson Financial’s investment product and content strategies.

I took a break from the financial industry to pursue other passions, but I always felt drawn to come back to it, which is how I ended up as Entrepreneur in Residence for TheMarkets.com, a research distribution platform owned by a consortium of the world’s most prominent investment banks. I started working on a platform to aggregate and make sense of sell-side analyst models, and when TheMarkets.com was sold to Capital IQ, my project was carved out of the acquisition with the support of the banks, ultimately leading to the creation of Visible Alpha. My team continued to work through the challenges of making all models on a company easily comparable and creating a unique consensus on every line item. Though we’ve been working on it since 2011, Visible Alpha was formally established in 2015, and we continue to help investors identify unique perspectives on companies for their investment ideas.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The acquisition of TheMarkets.com closed in the fall of 2010, and in order to continue working on the research distribution platform, I needed to form a new business with ownership from the banks. So I set up a consultancy, thinking it would be a few months before I could set up a formal company. Well, due to complex banking regulations and a variety of other barriers, it ended up taking four years. I hired people under the consulting business, and once Visible Alpha was formally established, the company launched by the whole team.

What do you think makes your company stand out during these disruptive times? Can you share a story?

Visible Alpha is a creation of the industry, formed by the major players in investment banking but intended for the benefit of both themselves and the wider financial community. Both the investment banks and investment managers look to us for a common purpose of addressing industry challenges. We’re called upon every day to solve pragmatic and tactical issues, and we help provide stability in a time of rapid change. At the end of the day, we’re serving both sides as a true partner, not only in trying to meet today’s regulatory and operational challenges associated with institutional research, but helping the investors get more value out of that research to generate alpha.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

While working in India, I paid close attention to their culture and management style to learn techniques that would be helpful when working with global teams. I discovered the concept of Kama and Yama by Indian philosopher Devdutt Pattanaik. Kama is the god of drive and passion; he doesn’t worry about the way things are, but rather dreams and strives for how he believes things should be. He’s the “god of startups.” Yama, on the other hand, is the god of death and judgement, who determines one’s fate in the afterlife based on how well you have followed the cosmic order. Yama is the corporate world, where structure and order rules. What I have learned is to run a company successfully, you need a little of both. Employees need to be motivated by a common and ambitious vision, with the freedom to express themselves and try exciting new things (Kama), but within an environment with healthy institutional habits and resilient structures (Yama). Balancing passion and order creates something lasting.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story or example?

There are a lot of people who have helped me throughout the years, but the CEO of I/B/E/S, my supervisor at the time, was the best manager I’ve ever had. While Joe was not an expert on the business, he was an incredible leader. His greatest skill was his ability to empower employees to work through their differences and arrive at mutually agreeable solutions to difficult problems. During a management meeting, a colleague and I were having a dispute and couldn’t find a resolution. Joe asked us to leave the meeting for 5 minutes, find the optimal solution and return; otherwise, he would simply pick an option without having any idea what the best choice actually was. We returned with an answer, as neither of us wanted a random solution to be chosen. This happened over 20 years ago, but the memory and lesson continues to stick with me.

Can you share what you believe will be the “Top 5 Fintech and Banking Trends Over The Next 3 Years”

· Managing a steady stream of unintended consequences caused by continued regulatory changes

· The continued rise and eventual leveling off of passive management. The trend over the past few years has been the rise of passive management, putting intense pressure on active management. While there is still tome way to go, I do believe passive management is innately self-limiting.

· The increased use of AI and machine learning and how it will enhance human performance, as opposed to how it will replace people. We’re seeing this in the rise of quantamental investing, a merging of fundamental investing made by humans and big data number-crunching done by computers.

· Blockchain will evolve from hype into a powerful enabling technology.

· A continued increase in the efficiency of banking and investment management brought on by economic and regulatory pressures.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Something that is important and incredibly timely now would be a movement toward respect and civility in the public space. We need to stop demonizing the other side and acting as though only our own views are worthy of consideration and start engaging with one another and working towards a common understanding. In all likelihood, we all want the same societal benefits but have different approaches on how to achieve them. If we were more respectful and open, we could accomplish so much more.

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