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Bridging the gap

A tale of two alphas — and trying to link them

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Integrating: David Harding likes the idea of bringing science and finance together.

David Harding, chairman and head of research of London-based Winton Capital Management Ltd., wants to bridge the gap between two alphas — alpha, a measure of investment outperformance, and the alpha particle, a type of radiation in particle physics.

Mr. Harding is one of two founding patrons of the 14-10 Club at London's Royal Institution of Great Britain, established last year for finance professionals with backgrounds in science and mathematics. Along with Alex Lipton, managing director and co-head of the global quantitative group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mr. Harding said he has long advocated scientific methods in fund management and wanted to help strengthen the relationship between the science and finance communities.

“At Winton, we have always prided ourselves on being an empirical scientific research company, but one which specializes in financial asset management,” Mr. Harding said in an e-mail statement. “The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 to promote the application of science,” said Mr. Harding, whose firm has about $29 billion in assets under management. “It is only fitting that it is now turning its attention to the modern applications of science and maths. I am delighted to support the 14-10 Club.”

Meeting on a monthly basis, members gather to hear from top lecturers in science, math and finance. For example, a recent talk was on the subject of “Strings, Black Holes and Quantum Field Theory.”

This article originally appeared in the October 1, 2012 print issue as, "A tale of two alphas — and trying to link them".