“We want to learn from centuries of investment history”
Rules-based investing can be very transparent. Belying the ‘black box’ misconception, Robeco’s Jan Sytze Mosselaar discusses how quant-based strategies can be more transparent than conventional fundamental investing and outlines his views on the future development of quant-based methodologies.
• Quant models can be transparent
• Human oversight remains key
• History matters to quants
Quants are often seen as solely focused on databases and rules-based models, and therefore detached from the market’s daily ups and downs. Would you agree?
“Not at all. Robeco’s quant managers closely follow market developments and their influence on our clients’ money. Even though we invest in a rules-based manner, it’s important that we can explain our performance in a logical and sensible way. This is possible because our factor-based stock selection models are transparent – not complicated black-box processes.“
“Within Robeco, there’s a clear divide between researchers and portfolio managers (PMs). Researchers tend to be more detached from the daily ups and downs. I think that’s a good thing – they should focus on developing and enhancing models that work in the long-term. But we PMs need to be able to explain what’s happening in our client portfolios, something that my 10-year role as a multi-asset allocator comes in handy for. An advantage of rules-based investing is that you don’t act on noise, you keep calm in volatile periods and don’t fall for one of the many behavioral pitfalls.”