By Rob Daly

Opal Advisors Shrinks Research Time with Financial Search Engine

Time is money for Bellevue, Washington-based Opal Advisors, which has cut research time it takes to evaluate a company for potential investment from a half to third.

Prior to adopting the AlphaSense financial search engine, company research at the three-year old fund entailed screening company websites, downloading and reviewing various U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and searching for corporate transcripts.

It was a manual and workflow-interrupting process, according to James Hua, a portfolio manager at Opal Advisors.

James Hua, Opal Advisors

James Hua, Opal Advisors

“My workflow is pretty simple: I read, gather data, speak with analysts and other hedge funds,” said Hua. “When I find an idea that I think is interesting, the first thing I do is look at the ticker symbol, the price, and the quick metrics that are available on any financial web sites.”

His second stop is to AlphaSense, where he enters the ticker symbol, which pull up regulatory filings, corporate transcripts, and other corporate and industry-vertical details.

To get the lay of the land for perspective investments, which Hua describes as understanding about 80% of corporate details, takes him between six and eight hours as long as the company business model is not that complex or has 30 subsidiaries.

“When I can go from 0 to 80% quickly, I can say ‘No’ to a lot of ideas, which is the same as saying ‘Yes,’” he added. “When it comes to investing, it’s a numbers game. Either you turn over more stones looking for ideas or you have more analytical insight and screen more companies.”

The AlphaSense search engine does not replace an entire suite of offerings from data providers like CapitalIQ, Bloomberg, and Thomson Reuters that larger firms employ, Hua said. “It doesn’t level the playing field, but it makes the playing field closer to level. It also makes me more efficient than employing five or 10 analysts.”


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