Within the asset management industry, the recent rise in pure passive investing, based on traditional cap-weighted indices, is set to slow down in the near-future as more investors seek to diversify their portfolios while earning cheap alpha returns at near-beta fees.
The so-called digital transformation of the ways in which investment banks operate as businesses overall began more than one decade ago. However, not all of the technology that banks needed in order to fully realise this transformation has always been readily available, and the last five-to-10 years have seen a significant rate of growth in the data processing and analytics needed to realise ideas that have been gestating for some time.
The growing ability of non-bank spot FX liquidity providers to service client demand in the marketplace came to the fore in 2016’s Euromoney annual spot FX volumes survey results, which showed that the amount of currencies volume supplied by the top-five market-makers was falling when compared to the ability of one proprietary trading firm – XTX Markets – that provides pricing to dealer-to-client currencies (D2C) venues.
While beta is a measure of a fund’s or product’s relative volatility compared to the market as a whole, smart beta is the categorisation of strategies using rule-based screens to attempt to outperform the market, as opposed to the capitalisation-weighted indexes used by passive funds.