Young Datasets, Inexperienced Talent Make Alt Data Challenging

The relatively nascent alternative data industry is creating challenges for asset managers, specifically when it comes to a lack of historical data and a lack of talent that can interrogate the data.

Long before there were vendors selling satellite imagery and cellphone geolocation data to see how many potential shoppers were inside a store at a given time, interns were being sent to mall parking lots to count cars by hand. The hunt for outside information beyond ticker prices and corporate actions has been ongoing for as long as the capital markets have existed.

So the idea that alternative data is something “new” doesn’t quite hit the mark. Rather, the amount of data that’s available is

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