Alphacution Feed

Marshall Wace’s Book: Hiding in Plain Sight (in London)

"There's an old saying: If you want to hide the treasure, put it in plain sight. That way no one will see it." - Larry Dossey It was only a matter of time. Sooner or later, Alphacution would need take its analysis further out on the road. Sure, we recently sent a warm shoutout to the AmsterdamTrader with our article focused on Optiver and IMC, so this would not be the first time we ventured outside our own backyard. However, in this case, our storyline makes a long overdue heading for London, where fans of Alphacution - both high and low - help point out the next collection of raw grains for our growing sand castle of market intelligence... Today's subject is Marshall Wace Asset Management (MWAM), the $39 billion AUM systematic and quantitative hedge fund powerhouse based in London - and we set the stage for much deeper future analysis by presenting the following shape of the full history of net turnover: Note that the missing 2008 (for obvious [...]

By | 2019-04-03T21:01:49+00:00 March 13th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Merging the Market Structure Schematic with the Context Machine

Alphacution's Top 100 Players in US Listed Market Structure schematic (v1.0) was a huge hit last week; breaking almost all content engagement records on our various publishing channels to date. Apparently there is a demand for eye candy. Who knew? While we develop some of the specific underlying modeling that supports that vision, this is a quick teaser for how that schematic fits onto our asset management ecosystem map. It only appears complicated. We are working on some simpler illustrations. There is definitely a method to our madness... Support the Feed! Individual Subscription Options Annual Subscription : $275.00 USD - yearly Monthly Subscription : $25.00 USD - monthly Note: Business credit cards and bank accounts can be used via our PayPal payment portal. Alphacution is in the intelligence business. We are uniquely focused on harvesting, packaging and distributing intelligence about the impacts of technology in financial markets and on the businesses of trading, asset management and banking. Our growing model library is our intelligence asset. Today, this intelligence asset primarily [...]

By | 2019-04-03T21:00:13+00:00 March 7th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Available for Download: The Complete Case Study on Spot Trading

In this 32-page, 38-exhibit case study on the proprietary option trading firm, Spot Trading, that closed in late 2017, Alphacution showcases the information and insights that can be harvested from a cache of data that is hiding in plain sight. This report is also intended to educate clients and our broader network about the mechanics and drivers of macro-market structure, as well as to provide a template that will begin to set expectations for the nature of premium content that is being made available as part of Alphacution’s emerging research subscription service.       As always, stay tuned. There is much more on the way. And, if you find value here or elsewhere on the Feed, please perform at least one action item to support it. Nothing new or innovative can survive without support. In this case, it's not time consuming nor is it expensive to show your appreciation. Ideas below... Support the Feed! Individual Subscription Options Annual Subscription : $275.00 USD - yearly Monthly [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:59:17+00:00 March 7th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

XTX Markets: A New(ish) Player Enters the Fray

"Laughter, tears, and dance moves are all things that should not be kept on the inside." - Denis Morton, Peloton Instructor It is as of the writing of this very short post - mid-afternoon on a lazy Friday - that we've just found that XTX Markets' very first US filing to the SEC database is not yet 24 hours old. We have been scratching our heads about this one for a little while now, wondering if and when we would ever receive any real evidence about this newish entrant to the market making landscape. After all, it does seem to us that a) we don't see many new players surviving in this neck of the jungle - Alphacution's structural alpha zone, and 2) ~100 employees and counting tends to suggest that there is something mildly sustainable going on here. Well, as of 16:17 (eastern time) on February 28, 2019, that evidence finally arrived; the equivalent of a DNA sample - the first X17A5 filing for this unique broker dealer - [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:58:40+00:00 March 1st, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Top 100 Players in US Listed Market Structure

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” - Leonardo DaVinci How do listed markets actually work? And, how do players discover and capture opportunity from within that market structure? And, what impact - if any - does the proximity of certain players to the centers of market liquidity have to do with the capacity of opportunity that is left over for all others that operate downstream from these players? These are the kinds of questions that we ask ourselves all the time because if you were to adopt the perspective that markets - and the fortunes of market actors - are interconnected, then what happens in close proximity to liquidity is likely going to have an impact on those who operate farther afield from that liquidity. Layer on top of this the notion that all modern market ecosystems are in a constant state of evolution - whether by virtue of new products, new players, and/or new technologies and methods - and the puzzle-solving exercise for how [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:57:45+00:00 February 28th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

It All Started With Wedbush

If you've ever had the distinct pleasure of driving around downtown LA, particularly heading north on the 110 just past the famed Staples Center where the LA Kings hockey team and a couple little-known basketball teams play, then you can't help but be confronted by the sign at the top of the building just up ahead: Wedbush. Beyond the tony Wilshire Boulevard address, it is here - certainly more metaphorically than physically - that our fascination with the SEC's Form 13F reports truly began in the Spring of 2018 - and later, by extension, where our Hiding in Plain Sight (#HIPS) series was born in the Fall of 2018. Prior to stumbling over this data, I did not know Wedbush all that well beyond the fuzzy belief that it was mainly a brokerage operation. So, as a result, it did not dawn on me that brokerage firms would be accumulating positions that would ultimately trigger 13F filings. Of course, I was ill-informed about the scope of Wedbush's financial services offerings, [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:55:50+00:00 February 27th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Millennium Management’s Book: Hiding in Plain Sight (Teaser #1)

"The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long." - Ludwig Wittgenstein Two brief teasers to share on our legendary friend, Izzy Englander and his Millennium Management trading operation. First, we modeled 72 quarterly 13F reports beginning Q4 2000 and ending Q3 2018, and the value of that piece of Izzy's portfolio puts him on the all-time buyside leaderboard in between Citadel and Jane Street: As per usual, we have stripped the numbers away from the vertical axis to focus in on the shapes for now. This picture brings up two additional thoughts: 1) How long are trajectories like these sustainable? - and, 2) Are there any players on the list below (of upcoming research targets) that will eclipse this current group? Our second teaser for now is an extension of the sustainability question above: In the exhibit below, Alphacution presents the time series of Millennium's average equity position value which is currently north of $24 million per: So, particularly given [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:54:55+00:00 February 21st, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Going Full Rorschach: Estimating the Short Side of Virtu’s* Book

“Everything you need is already inside.” - Bill Bowerman, Track & Field Coach and Nike Co-Founder Apparently, there is this parallel universe wherein traders and asset managers are able to take each subsequent risk with the benefit of perfect information because there seems to be some implication in our feedback loop that relying on partial or even incomplete fragments of information is not worth the effort. Tsk tsk... Now, those of you who have been paying close attention at home already know how much I enjoy flogging my readers with the famed Al Pacino Game of Inches speech from the movie Any Given Sunday to within - uh - an inch of their attention spans, but the point should be fairly clear by now: There are tons of clues lying around in plain sight for those willing to occasionally perform the intellectual equivalent of a dumpster dive for new sources of intelligence... Maybe 13F reports just have a bad reputation for their poor impersonation of low hanging fruit. Anyway, here's [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:53:55+00:00 February 20th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Mr. Volatility: What’s the Next Catalyst?

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” – Steve Jobs (2011) It was the one question we could be sure would be asked. Every. Time. And, it changed my perspective on the whole game... Scene: It was a Spring day, 1990. 730 am. Pre-market open equity option traders meeting. O'Connor & Associates, 7th Floor, 141 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. Arguably, the world's leading proprietary derivatives trading firm of the era. My first of a few years' worth of these meetings. A neophyte member of the fledgling fundamental research team sitting amongst new colleagues whose first language was either Greek, or 1's and 0's. Clay Struve - the Chief Brain of the operation and legandary conjugator of FX crossrates through the haze of the previous nights' yard of beer - plus a few other partners and senior traders - sat at the big boy [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:52:50+00:00 February 14th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|

Case Study: What Happened to Spot Trading?

"Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is not a clear one.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein As we build - and promote - our case to elevate Alphacution's value proposition and research output to a more viable economic support model, we are beginning to focus on the development of deeper and more comprehensive premium content.  This plan has been outlined in our recent Support the Feed! post, a portion of which will now be appended to the bottom of each new post going forward. BTW, the sooner you respond to that plea in some way, the less likely it will be that I become increasingly obnoxious about the topic... ;-) Anyway, I had hoped to develop this case study on Spot Trading - a noted Chicago-based proprietary option-focused trading firm that closed at the end of 2017 - as an example of what we are able to highlight specifically in cases where [...]

By | 2019-04-03T20:51:33+00:00 February 13th, 2019|Alphacution Feed|