LinkedIn is expanding its offerings with a research service that will connect users with experts in the financial services field. According to LinkedIn, the new service will help hedge fund managers and investment banks find experts who can advise them.

LinkedIn will be able to connect these financial services professionals with people who are connected to companies they are interested in investing in, just as it currently connects individuals who wish to communicate for various business and personal reasons. The new service is slated to launch during the first half of the year. It will be available by subscription, but those fees have not yet been announced.

This isn't a revolutionary idea, however. Such services are already available from Yahoo Answers and the Gerson Lehrman Group, which boasts a network of more than 175,000 on its website, is certainly a formidable player in this space. However, it's a very interesting idea. The fact that the Gerson Lehrman Group has been very successful in this space is solid proof that there is a need and a market for such an offering. In fact, this could potentially yield some tough competition for Gerson Lehrman in the near future.