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.
The MW Market Neutral TOPS strategy was launched in November 2007 in order to offer investors an alpha stream uncorrelated to market direction and with low volatility. The unique, dynamic input of ideas from MW TOPS contributors differentiates this approach from the majority of quantitative market neutral strategies whose investment processes are founded on the analysis of passive data. The strategy draws on the trade ideas of contributors worldwide and seeks to deliver performance predominantly driven by the independent processes of long and short stock alpha generation in each geography. AUM is not provided.