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jerryking : informational_advantages   17

The lesson for all investors arising from the lewd comments of a billionaire fund manager
OCTOBER 23, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by IAN MCGUGAN

The money management industry that, in one way or another, is trying to seduce you.....The key to arriving at a mature relationship is seeing through the patter. Every fund company can trot out attractive, well-educated people with well-researched insights about the market. But look beyond the superficial charm.
More often than not, this will result in disappointment. The performance of most actively managed funds consistently lags passive market benchmarks, especially as you look at longer periods. In Canada, more than nine in every 10 funds underperformed their respective benchmarks over the 10 years to the end of 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In the United States, similar long-term trends hold true. Even the endowments of Ivy League universities, managed by teams of highly paid professionals, have failed to keep pace with a simple 60/40 portfolio of 60 per cent U.S. stocks and 40 per cent U.S. bonds over the past decade, according to research firm Markov Processes International. One simple lesson to take away from this is that indexing should be the default strategy for most small investors. Unless you have a strong view of where the market is going next, or a compelling reason to believe in a specific money manager, putting money into a low-cost, widely diversified index fund makes sense. No, it’s not going to work all the time – no investing strategy does – but it is hard to shrug off the long-term evidence of superior performance.

John Huber at Saber Capital Management, is often asked what his edge, or advantage, is. “Institutional investors seem especially interested in this question, and the edge that they are almost always looking for is some form of informational edge or insight that the rest of the market isn’t aware of,”......The problem is that such edges don’t exist any more. Oceans of financial and corporate information are available to any professional investor. Legions of professionals pore over that data, looking for reasons to buy or sell. Nobody knows more than anyone else – at least, not legally.......The only sustainable edge, Mr. Huber argues, is maintaining a different time horizon than the overall market.....
active_investing  commoditization_of_information  disappointment  index_funds  informational_advantages  investors  Ken_Fisher  lessons  money_management  passive_investing  slight_edge  time_horizons 
october 2019 by jerryking
‘Businesses Will Not Be Able to Hide’: Spy Satellites May Give Edge From Above
Jan. 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Cade Metz.

In October, the Chinese province of Guangdong — the manufacturing center on the southern coast that drives 12 percent of the country’s economy — stopped publishing a monthly report on the health of its local factories.

For five consecutive months, this key economic index had shown a drop in factory production as the United States applied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese exports. Then, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the United States and China, the government authorities in Beijing shut the index down.

A small start-up in San Francisco began rebuilding the index, lifting information from photos and infrared images of Guangdong’s factories captured by satellites orbiting overhead. The company, SpaceKnow, is now selling this information to hedge funds, banks and other market traders looking for an edge.

High-altitude surveillance was once the domain of global superpowers. Now, a growing number of start-ups are turning it into a business, aiming to sell insights gleaned from cameras and other sensors installed on small and inexpensive “cube satellites.”..... satellite analysis will ultimately lead to more efficient markets and a better understanding of the global economy.....as well...as a check on the world’s companies and governments....use satellite imagery to track everything from illegal mining and logging operations to large-scale home demolitions. .....All of this is being driven by a drop in the cost of building, launching and operating satellites. Today, a $3 million satellite that weighs less than 10 pounds can capture significantly sharper images than a $300 million, 900-pound satellite built in the late 1990s. That allows companies to put up dozens of devices, each of which can focus on a particular area of the globe or on a particular kind of data collection. As a result, more companies are sending more satellites into orbit, and these satellites are generating more data.

And recent advances in artificial intelligence allow machines to analyze this data with greater speed and accuracy. “The future is automation, with humans only looking at the very interesting stuff,” ......The start-ups buy their data from a growing number of satellite operators, and they build the automated systems that analyze the data, pinpointing objects like cars, buildings, mines and oil tankers in high-resolution photos and other images........What began with satellite cameras is rapidly expanding to infrared sensors that detect heat; “hyperspectral” sensors that identify minerals, vegetation and other materials; and radar scanners that can build three-dimensional images of the landscape below.....
artificial_intelligence  automation  competitive_advantage  indices  imagery  informational_advantages  infrared  insights  reconnaissance  satellites  sensors  slight_edge  surveillance  trade_wars 
january 2019 by jerryking
Firms That Bossed Agriculture for a Century Face New Threat: Farmers - WSJ
August 15, 2018 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

On any given day, Cargill’s global network may handle up to 20% of the world’s food supply, company officials estimate. Crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and canola remain the fuel for much of the empire.

“It’s the root of the Cargill company,” said Marcel Smits, Cargill’s chief financial officer. Still, he said, “it’s clear that everybody in the industry has had a difficult time over the past few years.”

Among the shifts: low crop prices, farmers with more capacity to store their grain and competition for crops from livestock operations and ethanol plants. Venture capital-backed startups are developing services that scan a wider range of grain buyers or connect farmers directly with food makers.

From 2012 to 2017, Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s ADM -0.33% profits in its grain merchandising and handling division fell 39%. Profits from Bunge Ltd.’s BG -0.26% similar agribusiness division dropped 76%. Cargill’s annual profits fell three out of those years, and the company has pointed to struggles in its own grain business as a factor......

A deeper technology effort is advancing inside Cargill’s corporate campus west of Minneapolis, where Justin Kershaw, the company’s chief information officer, is overseeing a multimillion-dollar investment in data science. The company is hiring technicians and building a “digital labs” unit that can knit together satellite imagery, weather-sensor data and artificial intelligence to get an early read on creeping droughts and places where foodstuffs may run short, he said.

Cargill expects the data-crunching unit to show how the company can run its own trading and logistics operations more profitably, Mr. Kershaw said. But Cargill also will use it to develop crop-planning and futures-market services for farmers.
ADM  agriculture  Bunge  Cargill  commodities  consolidation  grains  farming  threats  food_crops  informational_advantages 
august 2018 by jerryking
Commodity trading enters the age of digitisation
July 9, 2018 | Financial Times | by Emiko Terazono.

Commodity houses are on the hunt for data experts to help them gain an edge after seeing their margins squeezed by rivals......commodity traders are seeking ways of exploiting their information to help them profit from price swings.

“It is really a combination of knowing what to look for and using the right mathematical tools for it,” ........“We want to be able to extract data and put it into algorithms,” .......“We then plan to move on to machine learning in order to improve decision-making in trading and, as a result, our profitability.” The French trading arm is investing in people, processes and systems to centralize its data — and it is not alone.

“Everybody [in the commodity world] is waking up to the fact that the age of digitisation is upon us,” said Damian Stewart at headhunters Human Capital.

In an industry where traders with proprietary knowledge, from outages at west African oilfields to crop conditions in Russia, vied to gain an upper hand over rivals, the democratisation of information over the past two decades has been a challenge......the ABCDs — Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Company — all recording single-digit ROE in their latest results. As a consequence, an increasing number of traders are hoping to increase their competitiveness by feeding computer programs with mountains of information they have accumulated from years of trading physical raw materials to try and detect patterns that could form the basis for trading ideas.......Despite this new enthusiasm, the road to electronification may not come easily for some traders. Compared to other financial and industrial sectors, “they are coming from way behind,” said one consultant.

One issue is that some of the larger commodities traders face internal resistance in centralising information on one platform.

With each desk in a trading house in charge of its profit-and-loss account, data are closely guarded even from colleagues, said Antti Belt, head of digital commodity trading at Boston Consulting Group. “The move to ‘share all our data with each other’ is a very, very big cultural shift,” he added.

Another problem is that in some trading houses, staff operate on multiple technology platforms, with different units using separate systems.[JCK: one Don Valentine's criterion for making an investment: "Are there great installations of incompatibility that need to be linked?"]

Rather than focusing on analytics, some data scientists and engineers are having to focus on harmonising the platforms before bringing on the data from different parts of the company.
ADM  agribusiness  agriculture  algorithms  artificial_intelligence  Bunge  Cargill  commodities  data_scientists  digitalization  food_crops  grains  incompatibilities  informational_advantages  legacy_tech  Louis_Dreyfus  machine_learning  office_politics  pattern_recognition  traders 
july 2018 by jerryking
Big Investors Don’t Want Wall Street Analysts Snooping on Them - WSJ
June 14, 2018 | WSJ | By Telis Demos

the research shops are finding ways to make up the lost revenue, turning to readership data. They do say that information is power, and in this case I guess the banks have the power again.
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I think the WSJ is conflating two very different issues. The privacy concerns apply on ethical (possibly criminal) grounds rather than moral ones, in the example given of hedge funds asking a broker to provide aggregated readership data. It's very hard to imagine a responsible research provider doing this. The other piece - the tracking of utilization of research product is exactly what brokers need to do to ensure they are being paid appropriately for the level of service a client is receiving. MiFID 2 has and will continue to put pressure on how much research clients consume, and to precisely account for how much they pay for it. Transparency is a two-way street. A 90-day embargo on the readership data is a simple solution, as quarterly/bi-annual reviews should suffice to true-up the bank/client ledger.

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behavioural_data  investment_research  institutional_investors  reading  research_analysts  snooping  traders  Wall_Street  buy_side  informational_advantages  privacy  transparency 
june 2018 by jerryking
Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments?
January 30, 2018 | FT | Robin Wigglesworth in New York.

Alberto Cavallo is today a professor of applied economics at MIT, where he runs the Billion Prices Project with Roberto Rigobon, another MIT professor. The project started in 2006, during a period when the then-Argentine government was accused of manipulating its inflation data. Professors Cavallo and Rigobon realised that by compiling the online prices listed by Argentine retailers they could build a more accurate and contemporaneous measure of the true inflation rate....The project’s commercial arm, PriceStats, now collects enough data to provide daily inflation updates for 22 economies. “It was kind of an accident. But we quickly realised that it had applications elsewhere,” Prof Cavallo says....Quandl, an alternative data provider

The project is just one example of a broader trend of trawling the swelling sea of big data for clues on how companies, industries or entire economies are performing.
alternative_data_provider  informational_advantages  massive_data_sets  MIT  Quandl  policymaking 
february 2018 by jerryking
The case for ending Amazon’s dominance
January 18, 2018 FT | Tim Harford.

Amazon offers:
* consumers, choice and convenience and a shopping search engine that is Google’s only serious rival,
* start-ups cheap, flexible cloud computing services to start and scale up.
competitors, e.g. Walmart tough competition,
* television networks, a tough competitor,
* Apple loyalists, a competing tablet computers at a price to make stop and think.

economists argue that corporate America is underinvesting.....rather than take a long-term view.......Amazon should be the shining counterexample....The online retailer’s strategy is driven not by short-term profit but by investment, innovation and growth. If only there were a few more companies like Amazon, capitalism would be in a happier spot. But there’s the rub: there aren’t more companies like it. It’s unique, and an increasingly terrifying force in online commerce. Should regulators act? If so, how?....

Begin by disposing of a poor argument: that Amazon must be challenged because it makes life miserable for its competitors, some of which are plucky mom-and-pop operations. However emotionally appealing this might seem, it should not be the business of regulators to prop up such businesses......Antitrust authorities should not be in the business of making life easy for incumbents. What, then, should they do? There are two schools of thought. One is to focus on consumers’ interest in quality, variety and price. This has been the standard approach in US antitrust policy for several decades. Since Amazon makes slim profits and charges low prices, it raises few antitrust questions.

The alternative view — which harks back to an earlier era of antitrust during which Standard Oil and later AT&T were broken up — argues that competition is inherently good even if it is hard to quantify a benefit to consumers and that society should be wary of large or dominant companies even if their behaviour seems benign. ....The narrowing in antitrust thinking is described by Lina Khan in a much-read article, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”. Ms Khan berates modern antitrust thinking for its “hostility to false positives”.....Tim Harford disagrees, he shares modern antitrust’s hostility to false positives; there is a real cost to cumbersome and unnecessary meddling in a dynamic and rapidly evolving marketplace. US president Donald Trump’s history of publicly attacking Mr Bezos is worth pondering too: Harford asks, "do we really want the US government to have more discretion as to who is targeted, and why?"....Yet for all this,Tim Harford remains deeply uneasy about Amazon’s apparently unassailable position in online retail. Yes, customers are being well served at the moment. Yet the company has acquired formidable entrenched advantages, from the information about customers and the suppliers who sell through it, to the bargaining power it has over delivery companies, to the vast network of warehouses. Those advantages were earned, but they can also be abused.

Antitrust authorities face a difficult balancing act. Regulate Amazon and you may snuff out the innovation that we all say we want more of. Punish it for success and you send a strange message to entrepreneurs and investors. Ignore it and you risk leaving vital services in the hands of an invincible monopolist.

There are no easy options, but it is time to look for a way to split Amazon into two independent companies, each with the strength to grow and invest. If Amazon is such a wonderful company, wouldn’t two Amazons be even better?
Amazon  antitrust  AWS  contra-Amazon  competition  regulators  informational_advantages  Lina_Khan  mom-and-pop  platforms  predatory_practices  Tim_Harford 
january 2018 by jerryking
An Insider-Trading Tale That Reads Like a Thriller - The New York Times
By ANDREW ROSS SORKINFEB. 7, 2017

“Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street,”
nonfiction  hedge_funds  Andrew_Sorkin  books  slight_edge  insider_trading  informational_advantages  Wall_Street  Preet_Bharara  SAC_Capital  Steven_Cohen  book_reviews  white-collar_crime  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
february 2017 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs Has Started Giving Away Its Most Valuable Software - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER
Sept. 7, 2016

Securities DataBase, or SecDB, the system remains Goldman’s prime tool for measuring risk and analyzing the prices of securities, and it calculates 23 billion prices across 2.8 million positions daily. It has played a crucial role in many of the seminal moments of the firm’s recent history, including its controversial trading just ahead of the financial crisis.....There is perhaps no better sign of the changes that have engulfed Wall Street than this: Goldman has recently started giving clients the tools that made it a trading powerhouse, for free.

The firm’s motives aren’t altruistic; rather, many of the edges that once made Goldman’s traders feared and admired have been blunted. New rules have limited banks’ trading risks, and made it costly to hold large inventories of stocks and bonds on their books. And electronic trading has squeezed margins, dimming the clamor of trading floors across Wall Street....Traders and executives tap into SecDB to inform how to price securities, and how the value of those assets may change with a twist on the dial on any one of thousands of potential variables. That information can be used to analyze potential trades—and then to monitor the risks posed by those positions.

What made it the envy of Wall Street, though, was its ability to scale up to include new classes of securities, new trading desks, even whole businesses. And the data it harnessed was all in one place.
Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  tools  traders  risk-management  informational_advantages  software  free  databases  platforms  CIOs  proprietary  slight_edge  Aladdin  Martin_Chavez  scaling  SecDB  seminal_moments  asset_values  scenario-planning  stress-tests 
september 2016 by jerryking
The Weekend Interview: Job Hunting in the Network Age - WSJ
By ANDY KESSLER
July 18, 2014 | WSJ |

Reid Hoffman has a theory on what makes ventures work: understanding that information is no longer isolated but instantly connected to everything else. Call it the move from the information age to the network age. Mr. Hoffman thinks that the transformation is just getting started and will take out anyone who stands in the way.

But what is a network? It's an identity, he explains, and how that identity interacts with others through communications and transactions. It's not just online, on Facebook and Twitter, but everywhere. It is the sum of those communications, conversations and interactions.

"Your identity is now constituted by the network," he says. "You are your friends, you are your tribe, you are your interactions with your colleagues, your customers, even your competitors. All those things come to form what your reputation is." In short, you are no longer the only one in control of your résumé...Mr. Hoffman had his own idea for a personal information managers (PIM) concept, but raising money proved tough. He got his first taste of venture capitalists in 1994 when he tried to find funding: "You probably should go learn how to launch software," potential investors told him.

So Mr. Hoffman joined Apple......Mr. Hoffman thinks that corporations still haven't figured out how to use LinkedIn and other platforms to their advantage. "All companies are being affected by globalization. All companies are being affected by technology disruption. Which means the innovation and adaptation cycles are getting shorter and shorter." How do you make your company more adaptive? "The answer is you need adaptive people working for you. It's much better for the company and much better for the employees—it accomplishes a network effect,"

Finding these adaptive employees is one thing, keeping them is another. LinkedIn forces companies to work at that.
accelerated_lifecycles  adaptability  Andy_Kessler  Communicating_&_Connecting  informational_advantages  innovation_cycles  job_search  learning_agility  LinkedIn  networks  networking  network_effects  network_power  Reid_Hoffman  reputation  résumés  retention  Silicon_Valley  tribes 
july 2014 by jerryking
Traders Seek an Edge With High-Tech Snooping - WSJ.com
Dec. 18, 2013 | WSJ | By Michael Rothfeld and Scott Patterson.

A growing industry uses surveillance and data-crunching technology to supply traders with nonpublic information.

Genscape's clients include banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, hedge funds including Citadel LLC and large energy-trading outfits such as Trafigura Beheer BV. Surveillance and analysis of the oil, electricity and natural-gas sectors can run Genscape clients more than $300,000 a year.
surveillance  data_driven  slight_edge  traders  hedge_funds  sleuthing  Genscape  sensors  commodities  corporate_espionage  competitive_intelligence  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  market_research  exclusivity  investment_research  research_methods  LBMA  nonpublic  primary_field_research  banks  Citadel  oil_industry  natural_gas  snooping  alternative_data  informational_advantages  imagery  satellites  infrared  electric_power 
december 2013 by jerryking
Want an edge? Call the CEO - The Globe and Mail
Jul. 03 2012 | The Globe and Mail | FABRICE TAYLOR.

Investing is a game of scarce advantages, yet an edge is difficult to come by in the stock market. You certainly don’t get one by just reading financial statements. A million others are doing that. Ditto with screening tools. They’re useful as a starting point but. again, they’re not exclusive to you.

It’s the same with the Internet. Any monkey can Google, so you’re not going to get an edge by spending hours scouring the darkest corners of the Web.

The only thing that can give you an edge is making connections that few others have, or interpreting what sources say to you.... No matter how much you read, how much time you spend, how elaborate your Excel model, you will never understand a business better than the CEO. Not only do they live and breath their work every day, and likely have for years, they also have information you don’t have. What you look at – the latest results – are dated. He or she has real time and, in fact, advance data.

Q1:one of my favourites is: “Who is the best analyst on your stock and why?”
Q2: Another good question for a CEO who doesn’t appear too promotional is whether it’s a good time to attract a lot of investor attention.

Sponge up insights about their companies and their suppliers, competitors and customers, as well as coming technological changes that could hurt or help a business....investing in one company on the basis of ideas received from another is a “bank shot,” like a basketball bouncing into the hoop. “The ability to look beyond just the numbers to see all different types of bank shots is something that can’t be replicated by a spreadsheet,”
slight_edge  CEOs  due_diligence  proprietary  informational_advantages  Communicating_&_Connecting  interpretation  real-time  questions  humint  financial_statements  insights  exclusivity  personal_knowledge  personal_connections  personal_meetings  personal_relationships  technological_change  bank_shots 
july 2012 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: All's fair in love and war, but hard to measure in business
April 26, 2010 | Globe & Mail | GEORGE STALK JR. "These
laws also mean that the informational "glue" that defined the boundaries
of industries and companies is dissolving, enabling industries to be
redrawn again and again. Companies can no longer rest comfortably in a
market position but must continually cannibalize their own and their
competitors' positions; incumbents must go on the attack to remain
viable....These competitors will not target product-market niches, but
instead define their business as the layers of events and processes that
produce a product or service, as Microsoft and Intel have. This will
happen not only in high-tech and communications but also in industries
such as biotech, media and retail. We already see successful strategies
of "layer mastery" in payments processing, contract electronics
manufacturing, and aircraft leasing. Industries and markets will be
redefined in ways that will make the traditional assessment of "fair"
increasingly difficult.
George_Stalk_Jr.  competitive_landscape  competitive_strategy  Intel  Microsoft  Google  Moore's_Law  Gilder's_Law  Metcalfe's_Law  Coase's_Law  complacency  layer_mastery  industry_boundaries  offensive_tactics  BCG  kaleidoscopic  informational_advantages  product-market_fit  market_position 
may 2010 by jerryking
The man who must keep Goldman growing
March 5 2008 | Fortune Magazine | By Bethany McLean, editor at
large. Lloyd Blankfein has a lot on his mind. The chief of Wall
Street's most successful investment bank has to outsmart treacherous
markets while balancing the firm's interests with those of its clients.
"Its range of operations gives Goldman unparalleled access to
information and ideas from around the world. "Goldman has more touch
points to more clients around the globe," says Jeff Harte, an analyst at
Sandler O'Neill. "It gives them more opportunities and better
collective intelligence.""
Goldman_Sachs  Lloyd_Blankfein  collective_intelligence  market_intelligence  informational_advantages  CEOs  unfair_advantages 
february 2010 by jerryking
Mining for Gold - WSJ.com
Interview with Deutsche Bank Asset Management CIO, Sean Kelly.
Details how the firm sorts through the clutter of information to gain an
edge.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: How is information technology strategically important for Deutsche Asset Management?

MR. KELLEY: In finance there is a concept called "alpha," which means that you make returns beyond the market as a whole. It's really what asset managers get paid for. For us technology is a sizable factor for creating alpha.

"There's a lot of information but also a lot of noise. You have to figure out algorithms to crawl through [all] this automatically, taking out 95% of the noise and finding signals that indicate the emotions of the market. That's the thing: The information doesn't have to be correct -- it just has to be dominant. A person doesn't have to be right. It just has to be that everyone thinks that way. So if you can figure out ways to get to that information and act on it before the market has a chance to correct itself, it gives you an added edge."
alpha  Deutsche_Bank  data_mining  slight_edge  information_overload  competingonanalytics  CIOs  sorting  noise  signals  informational_advantages 
january 2009 by jerryking

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