For nearly two decades Doug Atkin helped popularize a new way of trading stocks. Now, a little more than two years after leaving as CEO of Instinet, the electronic exchange and brokerage, Atkin is trying to revolutionize investment research. Last month he became CEO of Majestic Research, a New York firm founded in 2003 by venture capitalist Seth Goldstein and Tony Berkman, an ex-research head for money manager Marty Zweig.
Majestic distinguishes itself from scads of other independent research start-ups by not issuing buy, sell or hold recommendations. Rather, it obtains unique data about consumer behavior, analyzes it and presents investors with conclusions that could affect stock prices.
The consumer stats come from exclusive pacts with research groups that typically serve industry clients -- not financial services firms. Majestic might use this information to analyze users' opinions of a new video game release, data on casino activity or the effectiveness of Internet-search sponsorships. But the firm lets clients make the call on whether to buy, sell or short stocks that might be affected.
"I think this is the new model for research," says Atkin, 42, who since leaving Instinet co-founded a financial services consulting firm, Efficient Frontiers, and served on the boards of research firm CreditSights, analyst rating company StarMine and tech-focused investment bank WR Hambrecht. "We're putting very, very specific and valuable data in front of customers who are sophisticated enough to make up their own minds."