- Business Insider named 10 investing heavyweights to its list of 100 people transforming business.
- They include the godfather of smart-beta investing, a millennial running the research operation at the world’s largest hedge fund, and a short seller who can move the market with a single tweet.
- See the full list of the 100 people transforming business here.
The investing landscape has seen an incredible amount of upheaval in recent years — and it has technology to thank.
Quantitative investing has blossomed as a money-making juggernaut using techniques never seen before. Artificial intelligence and supercomputers have armed traders with an unprecedented amount of information. Markets are moved by short social media posts. And it’s never been easier for young professionals to invest their own money.
We identified 10 visionaries who are either helping usher in investing’s technological revolution, or doing something wholly unique and influential. Read on to see the full list of 10 people transforming investing.
Rob Arnott, chairman and CEO of Research Affiliates LLC, helped commercialize quant investing
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Rob Arnott has built his career on challenging convention.
"Inherent skepticism is probably the single most dominant contributor to my career," Arnott told Business Insider. "Basically, when I hear something that’s conventional wisdom, I’ll often test it."
"Does it work? And does it work for the reason people think it does? When it doesn’t, I’ll write an article about it and publish my research, and that’s when the fun starts."
Now the world’s biggest firms pay Arnott for advice. He serves as chairman and CEO of Pimco subadvisor Research Affiliates LLC, where he advises on more than $200 billion.
Perhaps his best-known accomplishment is pioneering an investment strategy known as "smart beta." The backbone of smart beta is a technique he’s created and popularized called fundamental indexation. And it’s helped push quantitative analysis into the investing mainstream.
Pravit Chintawongvanich, equity derivatives strategist at Wells Fargo, brought volatility trading to the mainstream
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
During his time as head of derivatives strategy at Macro Risk Advisors, Pravit Chintawongvanich provided investors with an entry-level education to the complicated world of volatility. Along the way, he brought splashes of color by chronicling the moves of traders like "50 Cent" and the "VIX Elephant."
Now, Chintawongvanich plies his trade at Wells Fargo, where he still uses the options market as the backbone for his research. He says options are invaluable tools for both directional trades and hedging, not to mention the role they play in diversifying portfolios.
"The options market can give you useful information that you’re not going to see anywhere else," he told Business Insider. Chintawongvanich’s research around volatility and its associated options was thrust into the spotlight in February 2018, when the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, saw an aggressive spike.
All his warnings around shorting volatility came to roost. And in terms of the long-volatility trade, the investing public had two easy points of reference in the form of 50 Cent and the VIX Elephant. Chintawongvanich had made volatility accessible and understandable for they layman — no easy feat.
Lori Heinel, deputy global chief investment officer at State Street Global Advisors, is championing a gender-diversity revolution in corporate America
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On a rainy morning in March 2017, workers installed a bronze statue of a young girl, with fists clenched on her hips, standing tall opposite the Wall Street bull in downtown Manhattan.
New Yorkers quickly recognized that Fearless Girl was more than just a new tourist attraction. State Street Global Advisors, one of the world’s largest asset managers, had strategically installed it on the eve of International Women’s Day to kick-start a campaign for gender diversity in America’s boardrooms.
Lori Heinel, its deputy chief investment officer, remains the most public voice of the $2.5 trillion asset manager’s efforts.
State Street’s widely used index funds serve as major pipelines of capital to public companies. The firm also formulated a Gender Diversity Index exchange-traded fund (ticker: SHE) to track the performance of companies that advance women in leadership.
By extension, the company has leverage to make demands of company boards on things that improve long-term performance and shareholder returns, such as diversity.
Since the campaign launched two years ago, Heinel has found that more than 300 of the companies State Street engaged with have added female directors to their previously all-male boards.
"Other major asset managers and asset owners have also started to advocate on behalf of having women in the boardroom," Heinel said. "We count as many as $15 trillion in assets that are now taking a stand."
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