Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

North Korea – What Happens Next?

“..It is hard to overestimate how much is at stake for the world after the sudden death of Kim Jong Il, the North Korean despot, on December 17th…” wrote the Economist.  Political leaders (particularly those in the West) looked on as this poverty stricken failed state (armed with nuclear weapons) went largely silent- releasing only token-propaganda. This is a country who are known to be one of the most brutal and systemic abusers of human…

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Investing in Global Development

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/12/15/alpha-hunters-investing-in-global-development/ From our ‘developed world viewpoint‘ it is sometimes easy for us to forget that there was a time when the United States and Europe were (as we would classify them now) ‘developing’ economies- largely based around agriculture, with some limited trade, and huge income inequality.  The industrial revolution changed everything, and began a series…

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New Techniques to Manage Sovereign Credit Risk

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/12/01/new-techniques-to-manage-sovereign-credit-risk/ In a recent paper entitled Managing Sovereign Credit Risk in Bond Portfolios (Bruder, Hereil & Roncalli October 2011) the writers assert that, “…with the recent development of the European debt crisis, traditional index bond management has severely called into question….”. Traditionally, sovereign bond indices use the level of outstanding debt each country has to…

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Generating Alpha in Alternative Markets

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/11/03/generating-alpha-in-alternative-markets/ Even against the backdrop of a global recession, the top 50 fastest growing companies in the USA averaged growth rates between 3,893% and 40,882% in the three years to the start of 2011.  These are rates of return which more than compensate the investor for the risk of making high-growth-young-company-investments.  For some investors, alternative…

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Using Twitter to Predict the Markets

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/10/20/alpha-hunter-using-twitter-to-predict-the-markets/ Our understanding of financial markets in the last few decades has shifted.  Professor Johan Bollen (Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing) states, “..I think behavioural economics has now become an accepted part of the thinking on markets- it’s generally accepted that people’s decision making is heavily influenced by emotional state and various other…

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The Secrets of Futures and Options Exchanges

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/10/03/alpha-hunters-craig-donohue-on-the-secrets-of-futures-options-exchanges/ The concept underpinning financial exchanges can be traced back through much of human history. In Aristotle’s Politics, “…there is the anecdote of Thales and his financial device…. he knew by his skill in the stars while it was yet winter that there would be a great harvest of olives in the coming year; so,…

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Interview with Jim O’Neill Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/09/15/alpha-hunter-jim-oneill-gsams-man-of-brics/ With over US$714 billion under management, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) ranks as one of the top 10 asset managers in the world.  At the helm is Jim O’Neill, one of the world’s most respected economists and market commentators who coined the term BRICs (referring to Brazil, Russia, India and China) in his prominent…

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The Secrets of High Frequency Trading

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/09/06/the-secrets-of-high-frequency-trading/ In recent years, advances in telecommunications, computing capacity and financial software platform capabilities have seen huge growth in the field of High Frequency and Algorithmic Trading (now accounting for over 70% of all equity trades placed on US exchanges and over 77% in the UK).  HFT firms (who can often make over 80 million…

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The Opportunities and Risks in Bond Markets

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/08/11/alpha-hunter-krishna-menani-the-opportunities-and-risks-in-bond-markets/ In any economic system, the fixed-income (bond) market plays an essential role as one of the principal ways of financing enterprise (be it corporate or sovereign).  Research shows that at the end of 2010, the global bond market had amounts outstanding of over US$95 trillion (to put that in context, the World Bank reported…

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The London Riots

As we sit here today, London remains in the grip of escalating riots, violence and disruption as young people have taken to the streets across the city looting stores, torching vehicles, engaging in arson and more.  As the Guardian newspaper reported, “London’s emergency services were on full-scale alert on Monday night as rioting, fires and pitched battles with police erupted around the city from late afternoon.” The UK’s “Elephant in the Room” While most media-outlets…

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