Hidden Champions? Part 1: Are Celent & Aite failing?

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Celent and Aite are the two best-known niche analyst firms in today’s fintech market. Many investors and financial institutions consider their reports and findings to make some vital business decisions. Despite these facts, the Analyst Observatory was unable to declare Celent or Aite as Hidden Champions in our recent webinar discussing the results of the Analyst Value Survey, which CCgroup sponsors. The Hidden Champions are those firms that are used most by the sub-set of research users who are most focused on topics in that segment.

That said, Celent did meet the Gold standard of inclusion in the Fintech Analyst Firm Awards. That puts it as part of the group of firms that, taken together, produce more than two-thirds of all analyst value for fintech professionals.

What factors keep most niche analyst firms out of ‘Hidden Champions’ lists?

It is a question that seems to be on the mind of several analysts out there, as well as their colleagues and clients. The methodology and factors that the Analyst Observatory has developed for placing a firm in the Hidden Champions list are what we need to analyze here. We found four contributing factors.

  • Freemium users get less value than premium.
  • Smaller boutiques.
  • Value for money.
  • Fintech professionals don’t mostly use fintech research.

What can they do to rise?

These four factors suggest four levers that niche analyst firms in any market can use to create more value.

  • Turn reprints into paid freemium.
  • Merge in the best boutiques.
  • Value for money.
  • More, deeper, research into relevant horizontal trends.


An analyst firm’s shareholder value does not equate to the value it provides to its readers. Value creation and value capture can often be out of sync. Analyst firms that charge a premium are not always the best, or the best choice. It is crucial for analysts’ users to consider various factors before investing in analyst reports to get the best value for our investment. Free research can be high quality. Blindly going for a report from reputable analyst firms can sometimes not offer the best return on investment.

However, the bottom line is that reports alone, without the context of advisor access to analysts, don’t give financial institutions or vendors all the insights they need. Analyst firms that depend too much on freemium are concealing that greater value, and make it easier for the generalist firms to fill the gap.

To access the on-demand recording of the webinar, click the button below.

Part 2, with analysis and recommendations, is here.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As the head of CCgroup's analyst relations team, Chapple directs programs that increase the value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.

There is 1 comment on this post
  1. March 27, 2020, 11:09 am

    […] Hayes and Daniel Lowther discussed this in my recent webinar, and, in Hidden Champions Part 1, I specifically addressed the challenges of two niche analyst firms. However, these issues are not […]

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