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The machines have taken over…. For many operating in investment management, it can certainly seem that way: factor investing, algorithmic investing, dynamic hedging instruments,...

The machines have taken over…. For many operating in investment management, it can certainly seem that way: factor investing, algorithmic investing, dynamic hedging instruments, risk management derivatives driven by changes in market prices, etc. dominate much of the investment narrative. And now and again these supposedly superior investment approaches get blamed for causing big blow ups. If portfolio insurance led to a wave of computer selling in 1987, then the chaos generated by the models in 2008-2009 was incomparably larger. So say the critics. But in Financial Models and Society: Villains or Scapegoats (Elgar, 2018), Ekaterina Svetlova begs to differ. She looks at how quantitative models are actually used by investors and finds a whole space where human judgment, intuition and non-model based factors come into play as to when and how and to what degree financial models are actually implemented. This social social of finance is well known in academia; it needs to be better known among practitioners. Listen to her interview here.


Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com