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Asset Managers Adopt Alternative Data and Advanced Analytics to Generate Alpha

Asset managers are adopting advanced analytics and alternative data to generate alpha and support client acquisition and retention, and business operations. The technology favoured for advanced analytics is machine learning, although natural language processing is also in the picture and smart robotic process automation is in trials.

Element22, a boutique data advisory firm, details adoption of alternative data and advanced analytics in a report sponsored by UBS Asset Management. The report, 2018 Analytics Power, discusses the results of a survey of 20 asset management firms in North America and Europe with combined assets under management (AuM) of $14.8 trillion, almost 20% of global AuM.

It notes that the survey participants are at varying stages of a four-year journey to develop robust alternative data and advanced analytics capabilities, and that some firms have reached an inflection point in generating alpha, improving business operations and increasing client acquisition and retention with alternative data and advanced analytics.

Predrag Dizdarevic, founding partner of Element22, says: “The benchmark study reveals broad-based experimentation with advanced analytics and alternative data across all types of asset managers. The leaders are realising substantial value from their programmes, especially in alpha generation, and we expect this to grow in the coming years. Newcomers should be as aggressive as possible in ramping up their programmes, otherwise they risk falling insurmountably behind the leaders which could be a key differentiator in the industry.”

Ulrich Koerner, president, UBS Asset Management, concurs, saying: “Amid an environment of downward pressure on fees, and an increasing shift from active to passive investment strategies, asset managers must find ways to differentiate themselves and remain competitive in the coming years. With more alternative data available than ever before the most successful firms will likely be those that leverage advanced data analytics solutions across their business to generate value for themselves and their clients.”

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