Caster Semenya is once again free to run the m without having to take medication — at least for the time being — after the Swiss supreme federal court ordered the IAAF to suspend its testosterone regulations for her with immediate effect. However, for now it applies only to the South African and not other athletes with differences in sexual development DSD. In a short statement Semenya thanked the Swiss judges for their decision. Her Swiss counsel, Dr Dorothee Schramm, also welcomed the decision. However, it ruled in favour of the IAAF after accepting its argument that high testosterone in female athletes confers significant advantages in size, strength and power from puberty onwards.
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Early investors in the Dutch East India Company sought out newsletters about the fortunes of ships around the Cape of Good Hope before they arrived in the Netherlands. The Rothschilds supposedly owe much of their fortune to a carrier pigeon that brought news of the French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo faster than ships. Machines took the easier and loudest jobs first. In the s floor traders bellowing to each other in an exchange started to be replaced by electronic execution, which made it easier for everyone to gather data on prices and volume.
That, in turn, improved execution by creating greater certainty about price. In portfolio management, algorithms have also been around for decades. In Jack Bogle founded Vanguard, which created the first index fund, thus automating the simplest possible portfolio allocation.
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Quant funds like AQR program algorithms to choose stocks based on factors that were arrived at by economic theory and borne out by data analysis, such as momentum recent price rises or yield paying high dividends. Initially only a few money-managers had the technology to crunch the numbers. Now everybody does. Some quant funds, like Bridgewater, use algorithms to perform data analysis, but call on humans to select trades.
However, many quant funds, such as Two Sigma and Renaissance Technologies, are pushing automation even further, by using machine learning and artificial intelligence AI to enable the machines to pick which stocks to buy and sell. If so, that could lead to a better understanding of how markets work, and what companies are worth. The execution of orders on the stockmarket is now dominated by algorithmic traders.
Equity-derivative markets are also dominated by electronic execution according to Larry Tabb of the Tabb Group, a research firm. Much of that volume is high-frequency trading, in which stocks are flipped at speed in order to capture fleeting gains.
High-frequency traders, acting as middlemen, are involved in half of the daily trading volumes. Even excluding traders, though, and looking just at investors, rules-based investors now make the majority of trades.
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Three years ago quant funds became the largest source of institutional trading volume in the American stockmarket see chart 2. Machines are increasingly buying to hold, too. A prism by which to see the progress of algorithmic investing is hedge funds. The sole exception, Man Group, a British hedge fund, bought Numeric, a quantitative equity manager based in Boston, in This figure probably understates the shift given that traditional funds, like Point72, have adopted a partly quantitative approach.
The result is that the stockmarket is now extremely efficient. The new robo-markets bring much lower costs. Passive funds charge 0. Active managers often charge 20 times as much.
The lower cost of executing a trade means that new information about a company is instantly reflected in its price. Rock-bottom fees are being passed on, too. On October 1st Charles Schwab, a leading consumer brokerage site, and TD Ameritrade, a rival, both announced that they will cut trading fees to zero. Cheaper fees have added to liquidity—which determines how much a trader can buy or sell before he moves the price of a share. More liquidity means a lower spread between the price a trader can buy a share and the price he can sell one. But many critics argue that this is misleading, as the liquidity provided by high-frequency traders is unreliable compared with that provided by banks.
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It disappears in crises, the argument goes. A recent paper published by Citadel Securities, a trading firm, refutes this view.
The strategy of factors that humans devised when technology was more basic is now widely available through ETF s. Some ETF s seek out stocks with more than one factor. Each added level of complexity leaves less for human stockpickers to do.
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