Leigh Eichel of Alpha Vee tells us how they provide, research, commentary, data, and analytics and act as a provider of portfolio management software.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Leigh Eichel: Last year, we all experienced something new in our lives and only read about it. The US administration in 2020 was well unprepared in all aspects to handle such an emergency. For us, our family was only slightly affected as we followed the science and recommendations strictly. Reading closely on the lessons learned from 1918 helped us understand what was to come. As it appears we are coming to the final phase of this situation, we are all very optimistic and looking forward to receiving our vaccinations when they are available.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Alpha Vee.
Leigh Eichel: After 30 years building high-performing businesses and after our last IPO, we took some time to look at an area in the FinTech space that had not changed in a very long time and was lagging. This is the area of financial modeling, index, and portfolio construction. Factor investing, Direct Indexing, and other techniques we saw 11 years ago as the areas to focus on. Today we are a well-established leader and a massive amount of intellectual property and experience.
How does Alpha Vee innovate?
Leigh Eichel: We listen. We do our very best to speak less and listen more. Then the teams seek to innovate a user experience that is efficient and easy. Always the client is in the driver’s seat.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Leigh Eichel: The virus and the resulting stopping of economies actually benefited Alpha Vee. Being a provider of Risk Managed signals, Portfolio’s and Indexes, we saw our leading investment research surge. Our top-performing 5 Sector Equities and Treasuries Research grew in 2020 by 51%, and this is after a prior year performance of 33%. We stood out clearly and received significant AUM flows as most established managers’ research is not risk-managed and fell. For years we have developed signals and research for Markets separate from Sectors and separate from our own selection methods. We look for the parts of the makers and companies most likely to accelerate.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Leigh Eichel: One of our key clients failed to continue. We did have to cut costs and slash all expenses, including renegotiating supplier agreements. Our supplier partners stepped up and helped us thrive coming out of this rough period.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Leigh Eichel: The best of the team and the founders now have worked for 30 years together. Trust and instincts are all we have used to depend on each other.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Leigh Eichel: Software competitors are Bloomberg and FactSet. Its internal teams are mostly stuck in old ways, methods, and legacy systems to develop their research.
Your final thoughts?
Leigh Eichel: Keep a long-term investment horizon.
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