September 28 2018

Rebirth of Alpha

The past decade called simultaneously the end of two alphas, the alpha male and the market alpha. The alpha male was never better exemplified than in the circles of politics and finance, from the “big swinging dicks” described by Michael Lewis to the Gordon Geckos of financial markets. The latest financial crisis engulfed these species as it was calling the end of hubris elsewhere too.

This Darwinian extinction let room for different models of power, not exclusively based on the size of one’s ego or how loud one speaks, giving way to more inclusive workspaces. To this end, the #MeToo movement and its drastic consequences for male public figures is probably the epitome of what was made possible. Likewise, markets started to give up on alpha – this quest to beat the benchmark whatever it takes– by allowing all investors to sing to the tune of ETFs and passive index-based strategies.

In turn, this opened opportunities to make investing more inclusive. This durably changed the fabric of our societies, toward a more humane and female chain of command, without negating the imperious need for brilliant people to stand out, and express how they could lead better and deliver more value. This is what alpha is all about, and in dying it might have retrieved its true meaning.

360 Advisory – Markets