In 2001, Marshall Wace began development of the MW TOPS strategy to poll selected sales people, country specialists, sector specialists and strategists initially in European equity markets and subsequently in all of the major global equity markets. This stemmed from a belief that there is alpha residing in the expertise, information and analytical edge of these market practitioners that is rarely measured and therefore remains largely unrealised. Since 2002, the MW TOPS strategies have sought to identify and extract this alpha through a web-based interface with these contributors. By synthesising sophisticated data on individuals and by exploiting patterns of behaviour within the overall network of market participants, Marshall Wace is able to create highly diversified and active portfolios. The breadth and depth of the MW TOPS contributor base coupled with the risk management framework constructed around these strategies ensures that the MW TOPS portfolios deliver a diverse source of alpha without bias towards any theme, style or factor. Relatively high levels of turnover facilitate the extraction of idiosyncratic returns for clients and mitigate unwanted risks.
European TOPS, launched in July 2002 and made available to investors through a stand-alone vehicle in January 2005, is Marshall Wace's flagship MW TOPS strategy. European equity markets have been, and remain, a particularly fertile environment for alpha extraction. The large number of sales people focused on this region represents the most mature and stable group of Marshall Wace's contributors. Having polled the broker community for a period approaching nine years, Marshall Wace's large database in Europe, encompassing idea-flow in a wide range of market conditions, is associated with high overall portfolio success ratios throughout the market cycle. The longevity and quality of this contributor dataset facilitates highly effective optimisation by the MW TOPS portfolio management team. In addition, the cost and efficiency of implementation in European equity markets makes this region highly attractive for active investment strategies. AUM is not provided.