Industry News

Industry News

Alternative Data News : AltData sets – quality is the challenge, not quantity : Unlocking Data Silos to Reach the Promised Land of Smart Analytics : Discovering millions of datasets on the web : New Analytics Platform Screens Investments for ESG Factors

Alternative Data News. 29, January 2020

Alternative Data News. 29, January 2020

The AltDataNewsletter by CloudQuant

Finding sources and uses for alternative data can be difficult. At CloudQuant we regularly read and search the internet for new sources of data that can be used in our mission to find alpha signals and build quantitative trading strategies. We recognize that we are technology and data junkies so we wrote our own crawler that specifically seeks out web pages, posts, and news articles that give us a snapshot of what is going on in the world of Alt Data. The following is a collection of articles that we think you will find interesting from the past week.

Alternative data sets … quality is the challenge, not quantity

There are an estimated 445 alternative data providers in the funds industry, serving the needs of both traditional and alternative fund managers. This is, according to, an industry that is projected to be worth USD350 billion in 2020. But while there is no doubting the quantity and diversity of data sets one can acquire, how valuable really are they?
It is a valid question when one considers that the average dollar spend on alternative data, for 2020, will be USD158K for those running less than USD1 billion in AUM, rising to an estimated USD764K for those running north of USD1 billion.

2020-01-24 14:03:34+00:00 Read the full story(Registration Wall)…
Weighted Interest Score: 6.1564, Raw Interest Score: 2.2838,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1631, Negative Sentiment 0.1631

CloudQuant Thoughts : There are lots of firms offering hundreds of data-sets. Imagine the car industry if the new car lots were not organized by manufacturer and if the car dealers instead bought random cars that they thought they could sell. You want to buy a specific make model color spec, it would be a nightmare! This is what AltData looks like at the moment. Fortunately, at CloudQuant we are seeking out and TESTING the most in-demand Alternative Data Sources. Head over to our Catalog to find out more, we will be adding a number more very shortly.

Unlocking Data Silos to Reach the Promised Land of Smart Analytics

With mountains of market data, historical prices, and transactions data stored in disparate systems, securities and investment firms are shifting from a focus on collecting data to extracting value from it.
A December 2019 paper by capital markets consultancy GreySpark Partners examined the potential for buy-side and sell-side firms to transform large quantities of big data into actionable intelligence – producing what is known as ‘smart data – through specialized analytics.
The move comes as electronic trading has generated massive data sets across equities, fixed income and currencies. Firms are hiring data scientists and coding analytics to mine this data for trading opportunities or to identify patterns that help lower transaction costs.

2020-01-28 02:06:54+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.1961, Raw Interest Score: 2.2137,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1050, Negative Sentiment 0.1240

CloudQuant Thoughts : We are constantly coming across extremely interesting exhaust data from firms that have nothing to do with Trading but which, if organized correctly, could be extremely valuable. Simple example, Apple AAPL stopped reporting product sales date on phones and earbuds but Walmart WMT and Best Buy BBY have gobs (technical term!) of historical trend data on those sales.  Most of these firms have no idea how to organize the data for Analyst consumption or how to promote it to the Street. Fortunately we have the skillset to take that data and transform it into easy to use and clean data for the Market. If you have some data that you think may have latent value please get in touch!

Discovering millions of datasets on the web

Across the web, there are millions of datasets about nearly any subject that interests you. If you’re looking to buy a puppy, you could find datasets compiling complaints of puppy buyers or studies on puppy cognition. Or if you like skiing, you could find data on revenue of ski resorts or injury rates and participation numbers. Dataset Search has indexed almost 25 million of these datasets, giving you a single place to search for datasets and find links to where the data is. Over the past year, people have tried it out and provided feedback, and now Dataset Search is officially out of beta.
Based on what we’ve learned from the early adopters of Dataset Search, we’ve added new features. You can now filter the results based on the types of dataset that you want (e.g., tables, images, text), or whether the dataset is available for free from the provider. If a dataset is about a geographic area, you can see the map. Plus, the product is now available on mobile and we’ve significantly improved the quality of dataset descriptions. One thing hasn’t changed however: anybody who publishes data can make their datasets discoverable in Dataset Search by using an open standard ( to describe the properties of their dataset on their own web page.
We have also learned how many different types of people look for data. There are academic researchers, finding data to develop their hypotheses (e.g., try oxytocin), students looking for free data in a tabular format, covering the topic of their senior thesis (e.g., try incarceration rates with the corresponding filters), business analysts and data scientists looking for information on mobile apps or fast food establishments, and so on. There is data on all of that! And what do our users ask? The most common queries include “education,” “weather,” “cancer,” “crime,” “soccer,” and, yes, “dogs”.
2020-01-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…
CloudQuant Thoughts : Google’s entry into Searchable Data Sets is huge, we reported on it when it first came available and they have made many improvements in the Beta period. Take a look, it is probably not ideal for Trading but it is interesting to see what is out there!

New Analytics Platform Screens Investments for ESG Factors

A key frustration of advisors is determining how “green” stocks, ETFs and funds really are. To solve this dilemma, a new portfolio analytics platform that will enable RIAs to compare and construct customized environmental, social and governance portfolios has been released today by Act Analytics, an investment analytics technology firm based in Toronto.
The new product’s analytical tools will be driven by 200 environmental, social and governance factors and industry data, allowing RIAs to “X-ray” securities, funds and portfolios to determine their ESG levels. This will help RIAs build custom portfolios for their entire client base, according to the company.
“Our new ESG analytics platform for RIAs provides a comprehensive and transparent tool to help advisors deliver values-based investments for their clients, enabling them to differentiate their investment offerings in a rapidly commoditizing industry,” according to Mike Unwin, co-founder and CEO of Act Analytics, and a former financial advisor and portfolio manager whose clients were requesting ESG investments, which spurred his team to build the platform.

2020-01-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.6496, Raw Interest Score: 1.8273,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1370, Negative Sentiment 0.1370

CloudQuant Thoughts : We have been sounding the trumpet for ESG data for over a year now, apologies to regular readers, but if you need some ESG data that has proven Alpha that has not yet been consumed, head over to the ESG data in our data Catalog.

Defining ESG Investing and Understanding Its Uses

Advisors embracing or considering environmental, social and governance focused investing should understand the different definitions used by asset managers, index providers, stock and bond issuers as well as their clients.
“ESG is not just about values but includes the underlying financial material risks within an industry,” said Mona Naqvi, senior director, ESG, at S&P Dow Jones Indices, who was on a panel about the topic at this week’s Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Florida.
Jordan Farris, head of ESG product development at Nuveen, described four different capabilities for ESG:

  • exclusionary screening of companies based on ethical values, regulations or norm-based violations
  • best-in-class sectors and companies with superior ESG performance relative to their industry
  • climate investment solutions, whereby asset allocation is aligned with the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • ESG integration, which incorporates ESG data into the investment process to improve risk-adjusted returns

2020-01-28 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.2670, Raw Interest Score: 1.6632,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2079, Negative Sentiment 0.0891

GDPR, CCPA, and the AI Explainability Question

In most large organizations, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are powering key business functions, from big data analytics and customer service to fraud detection and personalized marketing. Insights that AI and ML can produce are powerful, but it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to explain how these algorithms arrived at them. This limitation could pose significant problems for compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other laws governing data and privacy.
Let’s look at GDPR first. When an automated process such as AI or ML makes a decision about an individual based on personal data, GDPR requires the organization to supply an explanation if requested. But what GDPR means by “explanation” isn’t very clear. There are two competing interpretations. The direst for AI would require organizations to detail exactly how an algorithm arrived at its conclusions. Thankfully, the most common thinking is that GDPR simply requires letting people know that decisions pertaining to them will be made by an automated process.

2020-01-28 08:30:33+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.6779, Raw Interest Score: 1.7268,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0959, Negative Sentiment 0.2686

Human Capital Podcast: ACA’s Di Florio on How Tech Is Crucial Tool in Regulators’ Arsenal (Video)

Di Florio, a former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations details how regulators’ increasing use of regtech is transforming their supervisory relationships and exam experience with broker-dealers and advisors.
Listen in as di Florio also talks about how regulators are deploying technology and data analytics to identify needles in the regulatory haystack and also how the transition from the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, poses a significant compliance risk.2020-01-24 00:00:00 Read the full story…

Weighted Interest Score: 4.3478, Raw Interest Score: 2.4648,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0000, Negative Sentiment 0.1761

Ben Pring’s 50 Thoughts from Davos 50

From the Promenade to behind the velvet rope, here’s what it’s really like at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the founding of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In its honor, here are 50 observations from this year’s event. (50?! Don’t worry – I’ll keep it quick and painless.)
2020-01-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…

50 Diverse Takeaways from Davos WEF2020

I am transparently stealing Ben Pring`s format to honor the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, with my own 50 diverse takeaways. Some are my own big picture opinions from spending two intense full days in Davos and participating in two side events. Others are takeaways from the diverse speakers that I had the privilege to listen to. And some are my Tech innovation picks again from the events I participated.

  • The old adage `Location, location, location` is now transformed into `Availability, availability, availability` which means the power is in the accessibility and data.
  • $4 trillion USD is spent by corporates every year to prepare data to be used by AI algos.
  • Global Data Excellence is global leader in Data excellence management that maximizes business value with a clear focus on the social value mission.
  • Trigyan offers an innovative data platform that is domain neutral to link data at scale and real-time – Glide (Graphically Linked Integrated)

2020-01-28 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.4448, Raw Interest Score: 1.5182,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2552, Negative Sentiment 0.0766

Crédit Agricole acquires majority stake in fintech expert Linxo

Upon completion of the transaction, the Crédit Agricole Group will own more than 85% of Linxo Group.

Crédit Agricole Group has earlier today announced the acquisition of a majority stake in fintech expert Linxo Group.

Upon completion of the transaction, the Crédit Agricole Group will own more than 85% of Linxo Group. The acquisition will be led by Crédit Agricole Payment Services and by FIRECA (Fonds d’Investissement et de REcherche du Crédit A…
2020-01-28 11:59:47+02:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.2178, Raw Interest Score: 1.4851,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2475, Negative Sentiment 0.0000

So You Want to be a Data Architect?

Being a data architect requires a good understanding of the cloud, databases in general, and the applications and programs used to maximize their potential. A fully functional data architect understands all the phases of Data Modeling, including conceptualization and database optimization. They also understand a continuing education is part of the job.
Typically, a data architect has a degree in information technology, computer science, computer engineering, or a similar field. Like an architect who create homes or buildings, a data architect develops a blueprint representing a data system that supports an organization’s short-term and long-term goals.
A data architect should know how to:

  • Design models of data processing that implement the intended business model.
  • Develop diagrams representing key data entities and their relationships.
  • Generate a list of components needed to build the designed system.

2020-01-23 08:35:40+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.9225, Raw Interest Score: 1.7335,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2222, Negative Sentiment 0.1445

An Open Source Alternative to AWS SageMaker

There’s no shortage of resources and tools for developing machine learning algorithms. But when it comes to putting those algorithms into production for inference, outside of AWS’s popular SageMaker, there’s not a lot to choose from. Now a startup called Cortex Labs is looking to seize the opportunity with an open source tool designed to take the mystery and hassle out of productionalizing machine learning models.

Infrastructure is almost an aft…
2020-01-28 20:25:44-04:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.0151, Raw Interest Score: 1.5228,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2538, Negative Sentiment 0.3807

Apple active devices topped 1.5 billion

Apple’s base of active devices is viewed as the linchpin of its growing services business. The company is targeting 600 million paid subscribers across its various services by the end of 2020. Shares of Apple were rising in after-hours trading after the firm beat earnings and revenue estimates by a solid margin. The number of active Apple devices across the world is growing, as well.
For the December quarter, Apple (AAPL) – Get Report posted overall earnings of $4.99 per share on sales of $91.82 billion, topping Wall Street’s estimates of $4.54 EPS and $88.4 billion. Shares of Apple were trading 2.3% higher shortly after the release. The company said its installed base of iPhones, iPads, wearable devices and Mac computers hit 1.5 billion in the latest quarter, driven in part by many customers buying iPads, Macs and Apple Watches for the first time. Apple CEO Tim Cook added in a statement that Apple’s quarterly revenue, which was its highest ever, was “fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables.”

2020-01-28 17:37:09-05:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.7218, Raw Interest Score: 1.4914,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1864, Negative Sentiment 0.0000

Community Data Platforms Announces Grants to Support Local, Evidence-Based Decision-Making

According to a new press release, “Community Data Platforms, Inc. (CDP) is making an offer that the leaders of America’s smartest communities will find hard to refuse. With support from Schmidt Futures, CDP will help three communities answer pressing questions while also creating a data analytics resource to enhance local decision-making. ‘While C-suite executives regularly rely on data analytics to inform critical decisions, community leaders who manage governments, economic development organizations, and philanthropies tell us that the lack of access to data at the community level is a massive hurdle to addressing their policy challenges. Consequently, critical community-based decisions are too often made on anecdotes or with limited, incomplete data. Community Data Platforms solves this problem,’ says Alan Worden, Founder, and CEO.”
2020-01-28 08:10:08+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.5656, Raw Interest Score: 1.3126,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1193, Negative Sentiment 0.6563

Reading Color Blindness Charts: Deep Learning and Computer Vision

Reading Color Blindness Charts: Deep Learning and Computer Vision

Transforming data to make it compatible with a similar dataset

There are plenty of online tutorials where you can learn to train a neural network to classify handwritten digits using the MNIST dataset, or to tell the difference between cats and dogs. Us, humans, are always very good at these tasks and can easily match or beat the performance of a computer.

However, there are som…
2020-01-26 18:11:47.585000+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.4579, Raw Interest Score: 1.0101,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1684, Negative Sentiment 0.1684

From Banking and Data Security to Compliance: Blockchain Grows Well Beyond its Cryptocurrency Roots

Cryptocurrency and blockchain came to the forefront of our imaginations as a technological marriage, seen as a revolution, for digital transactions. So vivid was the future for this pairing, at the outset at least, that the terms became linked. In reality, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies are distinct, the latter supporting the former’s ability to exist.

Blockchain is the technology, and cryptocurrencies are an application of…
2020-01-28 12:43:24 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.3849, Raw Interest Score: 1.2883,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1666, Negative Sentiment 0.1666

Introducing Anaconda Team Edition: Secure Open-Source Data Science for the Enterprise

I’m very excited to announce a new addition to Anaconda’s product line — Anaconda Team Edition!

For the last few years, Anaconda has offered two products: our free Anaconda Distribution, meant for individual practitioners, and Anaconda Enterprise, our full-featured machine learning platform for the enterprise. This left a gap for many data scientists and developers who use Anaconda professionally, but whose companies either do not yet need a ful…
2020-01-28 21:39:50+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.7467, Raw Interest Score: 1.2048,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2738, Negative Sentiment 0.0274

2020 release wave 1 plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform now available

Today, we published the 2020 release wave 1 plans for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform, a compilation of new capabilities that will be released between April and September 2020. The new features and enhancements demonstrate our continued investment to power digital transformation for our customers and partners.

Dynamics 365

The first release wave of the year contains hundreds of new features across Dynamics 365 applications including S…
2020-01-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.7211, Raw Interest Score: 1.3012,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4879, Negative Sentiment 0.1762

Having A Hard Time Reconnecting With A VC? 5 Practical Tips

Many previous articles have talked about how to connect with investors, including how VCs can suck but you can minimize the pain, doing your own diligence on them, and working with smaller versus larger investors. What this post is focused on is on reconnecting with a VC that you already know. If you have a very strong relationship, such as they funded your previous company, then you should know well how to get their attention. But otherwise, if …
2020-01-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.4402, Raw Interest Score: 0.8130,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2555, Negative Sentiment 0.0465

Sales of new homes fell in December, but the future looks bright for the home-building industry

The numbers: Sales of newly-constructed homes in the U.S. dropped 0.4% on a monthly basis in December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 694,000, the government reported Monday.
That’s compared with a seasonally-adjusted pace of 697,000 set in November, which was revised downward from the original report released last month. Because of the sample size of the new-home sales data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the report can have swings and significant revisions, as was also seen in the September and October data releases.
While new-home sales dropped on a monthly basis, they were up 23% from the previous year in December. The average rate of new home sales in 2019 was 681,000, which was 10.3% higher than 2018’s pace.

2020-01-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.2764, Raw Interest Score: 0.8753,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0729, Negative Sentiment 0.3282

Top Women in WealthTech 2020: Angela Pecoraro CEO of Advicent

Accomplishment(s): Our business started more than 25 years ago, and it is both our challenge and our opportunity to remain relevant and innovative for the next 25 years. I’m thrilled to serve as Advicent’s CEO, leading the company through the largest platform expansion we’ve embarked on in recent years.

As we set out to disrupt an entire industry with a new approach to financial planning, we quickly realized that,…
2020-01-22 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.0382, Raw Interest Score: 0.6530,
Positive Sentiment: 0.6028, Negative Sentiment 0.2344

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