The Best Longform Stories of 2018

Collating the best of our features throughout the year.

It’s been a banner year for longform content on WatersTechnology. From in-depth investigations of the spat between exchanges in Singapore and India over index licensing, through to the extraordinary pieces produced on alternative data and deep learning in the latter half of 2019, our newsrooms in London, Hong Kong, and New York have truly kicked it out of the park.

Below is a selection of the best features we’ve published this year, which we’ve also unlocked for the holiday period and brought in front of our paywall.

The Kids Aren’t Alright: A Look at How K-12 Schools Are Failing to Teach Programming

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education has been a focus for several years, but as our editor-at-large, Anthony Malakian, explores in this feature, key skills for the future are being largely neglected in early school years—particularly for ethnic minorities and young women.

Waters 25: A Look Back on the Last Two Decades

In support of Waters’ 25th birthday this September, former staffer Timothy Bourgaize Murray put together this monster of a retrospective feature, covering the major events that have marked the past quarter-century in financial technology.

Bad Blood: Regulators Lose Patience with Mifid II’s Dirty Data

The revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or Mifid II to its friends, was supposed to usher in a new era of transparency in financial markets. As our editor, James Rundle, explores, it simply didn’t. Now, the industry is beginning to test the limits of regulatory patience.

End of Days Data: Climate Content Heats Up

Anthony Malakian looks at the emerging importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data in the investment decision-making process, and speaks to a range of hedge funds, asset managers and specialists in order to fully lay out everything you need to know about climate change data.

Prop Shops Lock On to Crypto Markets

How quickly things change. From reaching nearly $20,000 per coin in December 2017, bitcoin has since tanked to just over the $3,000 mark. That doesn’t seem to deter Chicago’s finest—proprietary trading shops, that is—many of whom are all in on crypto. James Rundle speaks to the leading firms about their views.

The Curious Case of the Trader-Vendor

Banks and asset managers are increasingly fond of calling themselves “technology companies,” but it’s a little facetious. Yet some are actually becoming tech firms, by spinning off their internally-developed software into bona fide software offerings. Participants, however, worry that this may be a case of letting the fox into the henhouse, as our US reporter, Emilia David, investigates.

SGX-NSE Battle Could Become a Long War

When the SGX decided to build futures based off the popular Nifty 50 index, it triggered an all-out war with Indian exchanges, who want liquidity to concentrate in their own venues and not foreign bourses. Wei-Shen Wong, our Asia editor, speaks to insiders on both sides about this battle in this continuation of her award-nominated reporting on this topic.

Deep Learning: The Evolution is Here

Anthony goes deep on deep learning, in this 6,000-word blockbuster of a piece on the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence. He speaks to specialists at banks, asset managers and everywhere in between about real-world examples of how the industry is getting to grips with true thinking machines.

Hedge Funds Hunt for Alpha Across 1 Billion Smartphones

Geospatial data has been around for years, but many hedge funds are only now beginning to appreciate just what a difference properly analyzing such information could make to their returns. This piece by our European reporter, Hamad Ali, also includes a behind-the-scenes look at how Thasos Group grew out of its beginnings in trading to become the alt-data powerhouse it is today.

The New Oil Rush: An Examination of the Alternative Data Market

If artificial intelligence is the flavor du jour in technology, alternative data is certainly one area that’s getting data specialists hot under the collar. Anthony Malakian takes a long look at this market, bank plans to enter it, and ways in which it could be improved, in what has been described publicly, at various industry events, as the best piece of journalism on this topic to date.

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