Forefront Communications

FundFire: UBS Asset Mgmt Dives into Alt Data with Research Group

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Sam Belden

Sam Belden

UBS Asset Management has formed a dedicated investment research unit to tackle the burgeoning field of alternative data.

The group was initially formed as a subset of the $844 billion manager’s quantitative investment research team but in March was split out as an independent unit to evaluate alternative data and machine learning techniques away from the daily pressure of managing money.

The quantitative evidence and data science research team, shortened internally to QED, will act as a central resource for other investment teams by improving modelling, using data science tools and techniques and using non-traditional datasets, according to Suvrat Bansal, chief data officer and head of innovation for UBS Asset Management.

The group sits alongside the four other research teams – equity and fixed income, multi-asset, behavioral and quantitative – and reflects the growth of alternative data, which is prompting a convergence of quantitative and fundamental investing, Bansal told FundFire in an email.

“Asset managers are realizing that, in many cases, alternative data isn’t really alternative but is fundamental data that is available for the first time with new technology and methods,” says Greg Skibiski, founder and CEO of Thasos Group, a provider of cell phone geolocation data that has emerged among a new breed of vendors targeting asset managers.

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