Momentum funds a research chair on machine learning in finance at Stellenbosch University.

Investment management company Momentum Investments has established the Momentum Investments Research Chair for research into machine learning (ML) in finance in conjunction with Stellenbosch University.


ML is a rapidly growing field that offers many potential applications in investment management and related financial services fields. Stellenbosch University has committed itself to this field of study through its creation of the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking under director Professor Kanshukan Rajaratnam, says Momentum.

“The intent with the research chair is to generate useful research insights for the broader Momentum Investments business, while helping the university deepen their research capabilities and produce new researchers and papers in this area,” adds Momentum Investments Research Hive research strategist Professor Evan Gilbert.


“ML offers the potential to significantly improve our ability to navigate the continually challenging world of investment management successfully.

“It can help with many significant decisions, such as asset allocation and asset selection. It can provide a solid, data-driven basis for improving our abilities to segment, understand and guide our clients’ investment behaviour. It can, thus, also enhance our ability to successfully implement our ‘investing is personal’ strategy,” he says.


Gilbert will be seconded to the School to supervise research projects at the Masters and PhD level on ML-based research topics applied to the financial services context.


These projects will provide the basis for academic research papers in local and international research journals and the insights to drive the impactful application of ML techniques in financial services.


“We are excited by this endeavour to bring into our ecosystem a researcher who not only has specialised training in the fundamentals but also deep experience in the current needs and context within this space. This partnership has the potential to bring change in line with the School’s mission to be a high-rise in the artificial intelligence and data science education landscape,” Rajaratnam says.

“Research is important for innovation, which is essential to growth, by generating ideas for new products and solutions, and advancing existing solutions in the investments business. The aim of our research is to help people achieve their personal financial goals effectively because, with us, investing is personal,” comments Momentum Investments deputy chief investment officer and Research Hive head Eugene Botha.


“The Research Hive was set up within Momentum Investments to provide subject-matter expertise on technology trends, knowledge and strategic innovation management and industry-specific insights and to facilitate active knowledge transfer between researchers, business experts and other areas of the investments business for the benefit of our clients.


“To enhance our research proposition, we have collaborated extensively in the industry to ensure that we remain relevant in the market. We have partnerships with industry bodies like the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa, the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa, and the South African Finance Association.


“Our close connection with research brokers and academia, through our university relationships and sponsored research projects, as well as global research providers and asset managers, ensure that we are at the forefront of research and trends in the industry from a technical, academic and practical perspective,” he says.


“Momentum Investments places a significant emphasis on the value research insights bring and prides itself on its heritage founded on the principles of innovation, interrogation and constant improvement,” the company says in a statement.

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