More than 400 quantitative investment professionals recently convened at the fifth annual Axioma Quant Forums in London and New York to discuss the dynamics influencing the quant management community heading into 2017.
“While 2016 was a tough year for quants and active management as a whole, I believe we are on the brink of a time of tremendous opportunity for quants,” said Axioma CEO Sebastian Ceria in his opening remarks. “When you look at the trends in the asset management industry today, far from being marginalized, quants are exceptionally well positioned.”
The event focused on the state-of-art tools, analytics, research and trends that quant managers can leverage to enhance their performance in today’s increasingly competitive investment landscape.
Given the rapid growth of smart beta strategies and factor investing, along with the expanding market for liquid multi-asset class instruments, Ceria outlined three areas where quants can apply their expertise to deliver increased value and insights to investors:
Performance insights and improvements. As investors and regulators continue to demand greater transparency around performance, the ability of quants to deconstruct performance and use their insights to drive improvements will be a distinct competitive advantage as portfolio construction becomes more complex.
Smart beta buyers beware. While smart beta products are likely to continue to proliferate, the performance and factor exposures promised by some providers has failed to meet the mark. Look to quants to bring discipline and focus to the portfolio-construction process, resulting in smart beta products that truly represent the intent of a given product, while also delivering greater efficiency in terms of transaction costs and market impact, thus avoiding drag.
Correlations and multi-asset class portfolios. The proliferation of multi-asset class liquid instruments has magnified the complexity of risk analysis, revealing a clear need for sophisticated mathematical models and analytics to better understand the diversification properties of these portfolios.
Commenting on the forums, Ceria said: “What better way to spend a day than by getting together with a lot of people who share an interest in trying to solve the very difficult challenges we all face. Maintaining a constant dialogue with clients and practitioners is the best way to ensure that Axioma’s solutions are at the forefront when it comes to meeting the growing challenges in risk management and portfolio construction today.”
The Axioma Quant Forums, held this year in London on October 6 and in New York on November 1, covered a range of forward-looking topics, such as the role of big data and machine learning in investment management and the emergence of quantamental hybrids. The events featured a number of notable guest speakers, including:
- Sohnke Bartram, Professor of Finance, Warwick Business School
- Thomas Blackburn, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, State Street Global Advisors
- Marie Brière, Head of Investor Research Centre, Amundi
- Jacopo T. Capra, Quantitative Equity Research, Deutsche Bank
- Tony Guida, Investment Manager, RPMI
- Giuliano De Rossi, Ph.D., Head of European Quantitative Research, Macquarie
- Altaf Kassam, EMEA Head of Strategy & Research, State Street Global Advisors
- Michael Kollo, Deputy Global Head of Research, AXA IM - Rosenberg Equities
- Andrew Lapthorne, Head of Quantitative Equity Research, Société Générale
- Rado Lipus, CFA, CEO, Neudata
- Rosemary Macedo, Chief Investment Officer, QS Investors
- Jan-Carl Plagge, Head of Research, STOXX
- Harin De Silva, Ph.D., President, Portfolio Management, Analytic Investors
- Steve Sapra, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of the Client Analytics Group, PIMCO
- Zach Shockley, Product Specialist - Quantitative Analytics, FactSet
- Maxwell Rounds, Financial Services Specialist, 1QBit