Interview: Bill Pecoriello, Founder & CEO, Consumer Edge

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing data scientists/AI experts/quantitative investors in 2018/2019? Why are they important?
As the alpha has degraded in certain alt data sets based on too many investors chasing the same signal, the need to find unique ways to use alt data beyond just a pure signal has increased. Blending data sets and merging signal with fundamental methods through the use of AI will become more critical in generating alpha. 

Can you share an example of how your system has been used by a new customer? Feel free to include any feedback or practical examples.  

Our alt data services have been used by both fundamental investors for digging deeper into the why’s behind a certain trend, as well as quantitative investors in generating improved alpha versus existing data sources they have used. In the case of transaction data, there has been one main data source on the market for years, and our data is unique and thus can be used either as a replacement given it has unique alpha or as an independent read on a signal that might differ from the one widely used in the market. 

Top tips: How can a quant strategist best engage and support a fundamental business to work together as a successful team?  

Understanding how to link the quant signal into a fundamental model is critical. Determining what fundamental variables the quant signal is capturing and understanding what its limitations are in terms of what is not capturing is critical.  

Cloud computing has been widely adopted in most sectors except financial services. Is this now changing, and if so how will funds decide how and where to include external providers? 

Yes, we believe cloud computing is the future in financial services as well. As datasets are getting larger, the complexity of the calculations have moved well beyond excel or even a local database, and more and cheaper processing power is required every day, investors will need to adapt cloud computing to solve these pain points. Investors will have to way flexibility in working with current processes as well as costs. 

If you look 3 years into the future, what do you consider will be the biggest changes to the way hedge funds will use technology to generate alpha? 

Using alt data, AI, and cloud computing will become the norm and not the exception. The skillset of the hedge funds employees will have to shift from a centralized effort on this front to one embedded within the investment teams, no different than when personal computers and spreadsheets moved from a data lab to all investment professionals desks. 

What is your biggest professional achievement to date?  

Pivoting our fundamental equity research business into becoming an alternative data insights provider. This involved bridging the gap between the technical professionals and fundamental investment professionals and solving the pain points of both. 

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