Ewan Kirk (Swindon, England, 1961) is the CEO and co-founder of Cantab Capital Partners, which is a quantitative hedge fund with 4.5 billion USD AUM and based in Cambridge, England.
Ewan Kirk was born in England and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland.
He holds a Ph.D. in General Relativity (Southampton), a B.Sc. in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy (Glasgow) and completed Part III of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos at Queens’ College, Cambridge.
Ewan Kirk was in charge of Goldman Sachs’ quantitative strategies group in Europe. The group consists of mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists and they were responsible for all of Goldman Sachs’ quantitative technology for commodities, currencies, interest rates, credit, and equities.
In 2014 Kirk was featured as a Hedge Fund Lion in the web reality TV series Hedge Funds Lions Den.
Ewan Kirk is the CEO and co-founder of Cantab Capital Partners, which is a quantitative hedge fund with 4.5 billion USD AUM
Ewan Kirk’s Cantab operates quantitative funds using computer models to drive investment decisions.
Taking a multi-asset, multi-model approach, the majority of Cantab’s traded instruments are liquid futures and forwards, across currencies, fixed income, equity indices, and commodities.
Cantab manages two investment funds: the CCP Quantitative Programme (launched 2007, with $30m) and the CCP Core Macro Programme (launched 2013).
Both are computer-based algorithmic trading systems, also known as automated trading, black-box trading, also trading or systematic trading.
At the end of December 2014 Cantab’s leading fund, the CCP Quantitative Fund had gained 39.3% over the previous 12 months. The fund gained 13 percent over January 2015 alone. These gains brought the fund to an annualized return of 11.38 percent since inception in March 2007.
In other words, the quant fund benefited from the central bank’s largest asset-buying program in history which created a (fake) bull market in stocks and bonds by default. Buying the dip near support levels became a one way winning bet.
Surely a robust, reproducible, disciplined process which has been tested on decades of data and hundreds of different markets should be more believable than a process which depends on the deep but often inexplicable insights of humans which are prone to well known behavioural biases and errors? – Ewan Kirk
Ewan Kirk’s Cantab stated investment philosophy is that algorithmic trading can help to overcome cognitive biases inherent in human-based trading decisions, by exploiting persistent statistical relationships between markets.
But algorithmic trading fails when there is a systemic change. When financial markets are undergoing a change so great that it’s outside the predetermined parameters of the programmed trading bot.
For example, most of the quant funds underperformed their human rivals during February stock market turbulence. The quants were unable to cope with the recent volatility, tightening monetary conditions and rising geopolitical risks which is leading to a trade war.
The pre-programmed buy stock by default at technical support levels in anticipation of the central bank’s asset-buying program was a loss-making trade.
Put another way, the quants are only as smart as their human programmers. So behind all the marketing spin, many quantitative funds are currently misfiring, they are unable to make money.
Over the years we have met many investors and allocators ranging from high net worth individuals to sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. No two investors are identical and each potential investor’s response to the systematic trading proposition is different – Ewan Kirk
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