Data Trends for Investment Professionals

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Quandl’s Guide to Monetizing Alternative Data

Many businesses from start-ups to multinational corporations have begun augmenting their revenue streams — sometimes exponentially — with their exhaust data. Professional investors who fail to beat their benchmarks quickly go extinct. They now need unique and untapped sources of data to remain competitive. While most think of selling data to brands, media companies and marketers, one critical potential audience for exhaust data is Wall Street. Investors will pay for exhaust or alternative data that tells them something unique about the economy in real time. If you are the owner of such a data asset and you’re contemplating its monetization,...

Data Monetization: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid

Here at Quandl we get a steady stream of inbound inquiries from companies keen to monetize their data assets to our audience of investment professionals. These data suppliers are not just peddling stock prices or futures or FX data. They are startups and companies born in an era of data ubiquity. They may have satellite data, smartphone or sensor data, logistics data, or business operations data. This is now known as “alternative data” in industry parlance. One belief unites them all: that their data holds value for capital markets. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Because in life, nothing is ever easy....

The (Weak) Link Between Alternative Data and Inside Information

The alternative data business is an art and a science—in that order. The science—in the form of statistics—kicks in once our quant team gets its hands on a new dataset. There is of course plenty of creativity and innovation in this process: instincts honed from years as quants on Wall Street play a big role in guiding the research process. But the work is grounded in scientific discipline. Before any data mining can begin at all, the mine itself has to be found. Finding data that can potentially yield alpha is very much an art. It involves a continuous conversation...

A Taxonomy For Alternative Data

We're witnessing a data revolution. You all know by now that we've produced more data in the last 2 years than we have throughout all of humanity. And the pace is only increasing. It begs the question: how do you extract actionable trading signals from this brave new world of noise? It starts with understanding the landscape. Here is Quandl's take on the taxonomy of alternative data for finance.

The Unbearable Transience of Alpha

In 2004 I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame for an article I wrote called The Tao of Alpha, in which I explained the concept of alpha as a zero-sum game. Sources of alpha in 2004 were much different than those available in the mid-1990s when I started my career and they are also different from today's. Alpha is highly transient and has been coming and going for as long as capital markets have existed. The term “alpha” entered the vocabulary of Wall Street sometime in the 1980s, gaining widespread use in the 1990s with the proliferation of hedge funds.It...

Alternative Data – The Newest Trend in Financial Data

As quants, we’re all aware that every model has a shelf-life. Sooner or later, the ideas and techniques behind every “proprietary” analytical technique diffuse into the broader world, at which point that technique is no longer the source of a competitive edge or alpha. What’s less well appreciated is that a similar pattern applies to the world of data. Rare, unique and proprietary data eventually diffuses and becomes commonplace, easily available, edgeless data. The best analysts constantly reinvent their models, to avoid their inevitable obsolescence. Today, they're venturing into the world of alternative data as a new source of alpha. "Edge-worthy" Data...

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