Customer Success Spotlight: Alquant

Chelsea Caltuna
April 8, 2020

Our mission at Intrinio is to power a generation of applications that will fundamentally change the way our broken financial system works. Intrinio data feeds form the basis of everything from large enterprise business reporting applications to startup fintech apps. It’s rewarding to see our product come to life at the hands of today’s most innovative developers building powerful things.

We’re lucky to be in a business where we grow together with our customers, and we’re proud to show off their hard work. Each blog in this series will highlight a customer that has leveraged our financial data feeds to build something incredible.

Alquant

Meet Alquant – a Swiss fintech improving traditional asset management through quantitative methods and artificial intelligence. Alquant describes its purpose as “enabling more and more people to enjoy greater financial prosperity. We devote ourselves to protecting and growing clients’ assets in a sustainable, equitable, and efficient manner.”

We talked to Alquant’s executive team about their goals, challenges, and biggest successes.

Give us the elevator pitch for Alquant.

Alquant improves traditional asset management through quantitative methods and artificial intelligence for the benefit of its clients. We are committed to delivering superior investment results and an outstanding investor experience.

What is your professional background?

Valentin Moullet, CTO: gained valuable experience at major tech companies (Facebook, Google and Microsoft).

Guillaume Bourquenoud, CEO: worked at a leading Swiss insurance company (Mobiliar).

Quang Pham, CIO: worked for a leading Swiss bank (Credit Suisse) and at the biggest European Activist hedge fund.

What inspired you to start Alquant?

There are three key reasons that inspired us to start our company and keep us working hard:

Clear. We strongly believe that the current user or investor experience is not that great in the financial industry, lagging behind other industries significantly. That’s why we wanted to provide a new level of investor experience, providing investors with high transparency and an intuitive and insightful presentation of our investment products rather than complicated fact sheets filled with jargon. It is important for us that our investors understand what they invest in and how it is linked to achieving their goals.

Sound. In our view, funds that charge a high fee for active management but then barely vary from the index are not justifiable. That’s why we wanted to challenge the status quo for the benefit of our investors. At Alquant, we aim to provide reliable investment solutions with a distinct track record of success at fair conditions.

Effective. We believe that emotions and the fear of a recession can be the biggest roadblock to meeting long-term goals. That’s why we use quantitative methods to process a vast amount of data and make rational decisions, avoiding emotional investing mistakes. In addition, a risk-controlled approach can reduce short-term losses and thus increase long-term performance. With this approach, Alquant aspires to generate stable returns, provide the highest capital protection possible, and take away people’s fear of investing in the global stock market.

Alquant
What have been your biggest challenges, and what did you learn from them?

We have faced several challenges:

Track record. The biggest challenge of establishing an innovative asset management company is demonstrating a valid track record. For instance, institutional investors usually require a strong track record of at least three years based on some real assets under management before they invest. But when you start, how do you get the first assets under management without a track record? To get assets under management you need a track record and for a track record, you need assets under management. Quite often we faced this chicken-egg problem. A further challenge is to convince bigger institutions as they have several decision-makers in an investment committee. You might convince someone on the committee, but if someone else puts a veto, they won’t invest in your product. What we learned is to target at the beginning smaller institutions with one or only a few decision-makers. There you have a higher chance of success. Once we have reached a critical hurdle and have built a more institutional structure and brand, we will go back to bigger institutions.

Regulation. Another big challenge in the asset management business is regulation. Regulation is quite strict to protect investors, especially retail investors. The regulation is even tougher for young entrepreneurs, as the regulation also requires a lot of experience to start an asset management company. We truly understand that the protection of investors is needed, however, regulation raises the barrier to start asset management companies by young entrepreneurs and pursue innovation in this industry. Our approach is to tackle the regulation topic proactively. Currently, we are in the process of getting approval by the Finma (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) to be an asset manager of collective assets.

Financial data. Lastly, it was hard for us to find a data provider that makes it possible to access financial data on the cloud at a reasonable price. It felt like the major data providers are still quite focused on selling their terminals. If they do provide access from the cloud, the price was horrendous. Quite often, they were overwhelmed by our requests. Sometimes, it felt like we were the only quantitative asset manager asking for access from the cloud. That’s why we decided to collaborate with Intrinio.

What have been your biggest successes?

The biggest success so far was the launch of our first product with a Swiss bank, reflecting our approach. We were overwhelmed by the trust of our first angel investors. Based on their trust, we are currently managing around CHF 20m Assets under Advisory. Our product was launched in October 2018 and has illustrated Alquant’s mission to provide a high level of capital protection through tough times such as the December 2018 equity crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?

Alquant differentiates itself by offering the next generation of low-volatility investing through artificial intelligence and big data:

Risk control and capital preservation. “Black swan” events are inseparable from financial markets. Assets can halve in value in no time. Hence, Alquant focuses on forecasting risk rather than return and pursues a dynamic and proactive risk management approach to reduce short-term downside, thus increasing long-term performance.

Artificial intelligence and algorithms. Artificial intelligence and algorithms are incorruptible, faster, and more cost-effective than humans. They are characterized by discipline and objectivity instead of fear and gut feeling. The integration of robust algorithms in asset management enables Alquant to process vast amounts of data and make rational decisions at any time.

Big data and information speed. In recent years, not only has the speed of information flow increased exponentially, but also the amount of information. In fact, 90% of all data was generated in the last two years. The high degree of automation of the investment process enables Alquant to process the flood of information in a timely manner.

Why did you choose to work with Intrinio?

As we are a company that is working almost exclusively on the cloud, it was important for us to be able to easily get data from there, and to use all the powerful tools available in the cloud to automate all of our processes as much as possible. Of course, we also needed to have financial data with good quality and be sure that the way we would get this data was reliable. Also, as we are a growing company, it was important for us to be able to select only the data that we needed at the time in order to avoid having crazy costs while using only a small amount of all the available data, but then be able to add different data as our needs are evolving. With all of that in mind, Intrinio was the company that was answering those questions the best while having fair costs for the data we needed, which is why we chose them.

How would you describe your experience working with Intrinio?

Our experience working with Intrinio has been very positive. The documentation is clear, the data quality is good, and the support team is very reactive in case some data is missing or for any other issue. The team is fast and is embracing innovation while keeping good quality data and reliable APIs, which is what we were looking for and failed to find in other data providers. All the available packages are also great and allow a clear view on what data is available and what pricing to expect. We are looking forward to continuing using their services for the years to come!

Learn more about Alquant by visiting their website.

If your business uses Intrinio data and you want to be featured in a Customer Success Spotlight, reach out to us at communications@intrinio.com.

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