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"If It Ain’t Broke, What Might Break It?"

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Business models change. Consider the public securities business, specifically research and institutional sales. Research analyzes companies to make buy or sell recommendations. Sales distills and conveys the information to institutional clients.

For decades, research was proprietary. Clients placed high value on it and the salespeople who delivered it. Thence, email and the Web.

Suddenly, information was sent by email, not by salesperson. And once in electronic form, research was no longer proprietary. The value to the client of the analyst, the salesperson and the firm was undermined.

Good managers challenge business models — “if it ain’t broke, what might break it?”

– Kip Caffey, Cary Street Partners

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