Brevan Howard takes bigger leap into AI with key appointment

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Artificial intelligence

Over the last two years in particular, quantitative hedge funds have begun integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of their strategies. Two Sigma, Citadel, AQR and Man Group come to mind as some of the more notable early adopters. Now Brevan Howard appears to be making a bigger push.

The hedge fund giant has promoted Karim-Patrick Khiar to the head of artificial intelligence in New York, where he’ll work on driven systematic investments. Khiar started with Brevan Howard in 2017 as its head data strategist but moved into his new role last month.

The move doesn’t mean that Brevan Howard is only now incorporating AI and machine learning technologies. Founder Alan Howard invested in artificial intelligence data venture Quant Insight back in July. He said at the time that Brevan Howard was a current user of Quant Insight’s service, which “helps [the fund] untangle complex markets and identify what is driving asset prices.” However, the hedge fund has even deeper ties to Quant Insight, which was co-founded in 2014 by Krishnan Sadasivam, a former partner and macro portfolio manager at Brevan Howard. The startup poached veteran Brevan Howard equity strategist Amit Khanna in 2017, but clearly there is no bad blood between the two firms. Even so, with Khiar now in his new role, Brevan Howard appears to be making more of a direct investment in AI itself.

Khiar has one of the most eclectic backgrounds you’ll find. He spent roughly eight years as an aerospace engineer in Paris before moving into finance, according to LinkedIn. He later ended up at BlackRock as the global head of structuring for fixed income and, eventually, a director of risk and quantitative analysis and research. He began delving into AI as a managing director at Morgan Stanley in 2015. He has both an MBA and a master’s in financial engineering from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Management. He has also done master’s-level work in artificial engineering and aerospace engineering.

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