Jaco van der Walt
Managing Director, Global Head of Quantitative Research & Investments
Quant has always been a part of the GAM investment process. There was a recognition at a point that we might need to make it an explicit area of our work, and at that point the Quantitative Team was formed.
It leverages both human and machine to make investment decisions. That, for us as quants, is very important. When it comes to the human element, we use humans to come up with the ideas and to put those ideas into models. We then use the machines to run those models. We have very large datasets. We run that through our models every day, make sure our portfolios are optimized based on new information, and then we also use human supervision overall to monitor and adjust where needed.
We thrive on technology. That's a key piece of how we make decisions. Every day we generate thousands and thousands of data points. As a large organization, we're able to store all of that data, process it, make it available to the whole team through sophisticated data management processes, and that's really helped us to make faster and better decisions.
Finding alpha is hard, which is why we've set up a deliberate program for alpha research. We've invested a lot into that program, and for us, it's about having a framework for alpha testing that we've honed.
The beauty of quant is that our process is systematic. That means it's repeatable and t the reason for that is so that we can control for behavioural bias. So what we do and what we've built into our process is a lot of portfolio engineering. And for us that means taking every part of our investment process and making sure that it adds value.
We are making big investments into systems, tools and people to ensure that the way in which we make decisions stays ahead.