Inaugural letter: the future of research

New York, February 8, 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is the inaugural Exante Data newsletter (I left my position as head of research at Nomura Securities a month ago). Since this is the first letter, I will focus on the very big picture.

For a number of years I have been thinking hard about the future of research. Technology is changing how information is created, processed and analyzed. In a financial markets context, new technologies, especially data analytics, are changing investor behavior and asset price dynamics.

The entire financial industry is in the middle of a revolution. Previously cutting edge approaches to investing and trading are quickly becoming inferior – relics of ever-faster data-driven innovation. In the Triassic period, it took millions of years for the dinosaurs to die. Today, it can take only months for obsolete methods and organizations to wilt away.

How do you stay ahead? For me, it is about freedom. To stay ahead – to attempt to lead the revolution – it is necessary to have total freedom along at least two dimensions.

Analytical freedom. This is about freedom to think and attack any problem you are interested in, from a number of angles, and utilizing multiple disciplines in parallel. Not being held back by legal constraints, corporate red tape, existing cultural norms, group-think etc. Once you have analytical freedom, you have no excuse not to be a thought-leader.

Organizational freedom. This is about having the flexibility to optimize your environment. Recruit the best. Create efficient teams. Motivate through a common vision. Partner with outside experts. Form flexible JVs, as needed. With organizational freedom, you can evolve teams and structures aggressively, so the organization is alive, nimble and flourishing, at any point in time.

Both dimensions of freedom are crucial drivers of individual and collective motivation, without which nothing will be achieved.

I will not go into details with our specific business plan and products in this short letter. One paragraph will do for now. Since Jan 8, 2016, we have been up and running from our offices on 79 Madison Avenue. We already provide discretionary advisory services to a select group of macro investors (through Exante Advisors). In parallel we are building proprietary data and analytics infrastructure (within Exante Data). The last part in particular requires significant contemplation, legwork, testing and some time too. As such, we are only planning to roll out data-driven tools and analytics products in some months (please stay patient).

At this point, I just wanted to post you on the launch of Exante Data and Exante Advisors and the underlying vision of the venture. If you have suggestions on projects we should be working on; or know about interesting data or analytics companies we should partner with; or have any other input or suggestions, please get in touch with us. To stay ahead, we need to learn every day. Your input is a part of our ongoing education.

Jens Nordvig
Founder and CEO
Exante Data LLC