What is “Quantamental?”
Quantamental investing is a hybrid investment strategy that combines the use of quantitative analysis and fundamental analysis. Quantitative analysis is a method of investing that uses mathematical models and algorithms to analyze and make investment decisions, while fundamental analysis is a method of investing that involves studying a company’s financial and economic fundamentals in order to determine its intrinsic value.
Quantamental investing involves using quantitative tools and techniques to identify potential investment opportunities, and then using fundamental analysis to confirm or disprove the validity of those opportunities. This approach can help to reduce the potential for human bias and emotional decision-making in the investment process, as well as providing a more comprehensive and holistic view of potential investments.
The Three Most Common Types of Quantamental Investing Strategies
Generally speaking there are three primary instances where we see quantamental strategies employed. The below summarizes each and starts with the implementation method that is often the most successful – factor based investing.
- Factor-Based Investing: Factor-based investing is a quantamental approach that involves using quantitative tools and techniques to identify and invest in securities that have specific characteristics, or “factors,” that have been shown to be associated with higher returns. This approach is based on the idea that certain characteristics, such as value, momentum, and size, are indicative of undervalued securities. Factor-based investing can be used to identify securities that have the potential to perform well in the future and construct portfolios that are optimized for specific factors. We’ll write more about this in the section below.
- Statistical Arbitrage: Statistical arbitrage is a quantamental approach that involves using quantitative tools and techniques to identify and exploit mispricings in the market. This approach is based on the idea that market prices are not always accurate and that there are often discrepancies between the prices of different securities or markets. Statistical arbitrage can be used to identify these discrepancies and take advantage of them by buying undervalued securities and selling overvalued securities. While “stat arb” does fall under the definition of quantamental, we would note that the fundamental analysis involved is often very limited and relegated largely towards the amount of gross capital employed. Some could suggest that statistical arbitrage is really the province of pure quantitative investing rather than the merger of quantitative and fundamental investing like the factor-based description explained above.
- Machine Learning: Machine learning is a quantamental approach that involves using advanced algorithms and models to analyze data and make investment decisions. This approach is based on the idea that large amounts of data can be used to identify patterns and trends that are not immediately obvious to human analysts. Machine learning can be used to identify potential investment opportunities and make predictions about future market movements. Like statistical arbitrage however, machine learning’s placement in the pantheon of “quantamental strategies” is a bit of a misnomer. In this example, the fundamental component is really relegated to the human beings deciding how to train the models they build and use in the investment process. This then is another “weak-form” of a quantamental implementation as it does not involve any true fundamental understanding of the companies that end up the portfolios created by the machine learning software.
Advantages of Quantamental Investments: A Deep Dive into Factor Based Quantamental
One of the key advantages of factor-based quantamental investing is that it can help to identify undervalued securities that may be overlooked by traditional fundamental analysis. Quantitative tools and techniques can be used to analyze large amounts of data and identify factors that may help analysts focus on stocks that have empirical features that give them an intrinsic statistical advantage. This can lead to the identification of potential investment opportunities that would otherwise be missed.
We mentioned earlier that factor based investing often involved the use of factors like value, momentum and size. These factors are well understood and often considered basic building blocks of factor-based quantamental strategies. Yet to suggest these are the exclusive areas where factors can be used would be to understate the case for this type of quantmental investing.
A great example of this is Kailash Concepts. Founded by a successful former money manager from Fidelity Investments and a leading academic at Cornell University in the field of behavioral finance, the firm excels in using numerous factors in their quantamental investment process. Reading their material shows the breadth and depth of factors that can be employed, ranging from the integrity of a stock’s accounting to a firm’s track-record of capital allocation.
Another advantage of quantamental investing is that it can help to reduce the impact of market volatility on investment decisions. Quantitative tools and techniques can be used to analyze market data allowing investors to take a more proactive approach to managing risk. Quantamental investing can primarily achieves this by helping to optimize portfolio construction. By allowing human judgement to be present while removing the tendency for portfolio managers and analysts’ emotions from impacting the sizing of investment bets, it can prevent portfolios from reflecting human biases.
Risks to Quantamental Investing Strategies
While quantamental investing strategies have the potential to offer significant advantages over traditional investment approaches, there are also several potential disadvantages to be aware of.
- Data Dependence: Quantamental investing strategies rely heavily on data and algorithms to make investment decisions. However, the quality and accuracy of the data used can have a significant impact on the performance of these strategies. If the data is inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date, the results of the analysis can be misleading, leading to poor investment decisions. Additionally, there is a risk of overfitting, where a model is made to fit too closely to the data it was trained on, leading to poor performance when applied to new data.
- Lack of Flexibility: Quantamental investing strategies are often based on predetermined algorithms and models, which can make it difficult to adapt to periods that feature macro backdrops that are highly uncommon. Additionally, these strategies often require large amounts of historical data to be effective, which can limit their usefulness in emerging markets or industries where data is limited.
- Lack of Human Insight: Quantamental investing strategies rely heavily on quantitative data and algorithms, which can make it difficult to incorporate the insights and experience of human analysts. This can lead to a lack of understanding of the underlying fundamentals of a company, which can be important in making informed investment decisions..
In conclusion, while quantamental investing strategies can offer significant advantages over traditional investment approaches, there are also several potential disadvantages to be aware of. These include data dependence, lack of flexibility, backtesting bias, lack of human insight and limited application. It is important for investors to carefully consider these factors before deciding to adopt a quantamental investing strategy and to use them in conjunction with other investment strategies.