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Trade Ideas: Securing Alpha with Innovative Artificial Intelligence

CIO VendorPhilip Smolen, Senior Managing Partner, CTO
Portfolio managers and traders seeking to secure alpha in today’s complex regulatory, technology, and competitive landscape are advantaged by moving beyond algorithms to advanced artificial intelligence tools. Trade Ideas is designed to meet that need, providing solutions that deliver specific trading strategies daily based on simulations across some 50 trading scenarios and 10 million trades.

The company was started in 2002 with an objective to help investors, advisors, and fund managers make genuinely informed decisions, that give actionable strategies, derived from unique analysis. “We provide active trading strategies and risk management, unavailable elsewhere, and generated by artificial intelligence and machine learning,” says Philip Smolen, Senior Managing Partner, CTO of Trade Ideas.

Trade Ideas’ AI decision tool, HOLLY, launched in 2016, is a highly sophisticated AI engine capable of: analyzing the US equity market; setting and optimizing strategies across multiple data sets (e.g., technical, fundamental) and non-structured ones (i.e., news, social, earnings, etc.); and simultaneously predicting likely outcomes.

HOLLY provides analytics unavailable in any other model, with third party, evidence-based, audited results.

The AI analyst performs over 10 million simulated trades overnight, then chooses six to seven of the best probable algorithms likely to produce alpha from a repertoire of 50 investment scenarios. With the market open, HOLLY generates detailed opportunities for capturing alpha from these recommended strategies.

We provide real-time market assessments, active trading strategies and risk management generated by artificial intelligence and machine learning


Price target, profit target, stop loss, and intraday risk-on and risk-off guardrails lead the way to informed decisions. These decisions are always left to the discretion of the client.

For Risk, HOLLY implements real-time analysis. The ideas are tracked as they execute intraday against market conditions. When the stock market is in a particular direction and all the trade parameters set are in line with the market conditions, HOLLY raises the risk-on flag indicating an ideal trade environment. On the contrary, with the risk-off flag, the indication signals the traders to leave the trading arena sooner than the initially set exit parameters. “This somewhat saves traders from the uncertainties of the equity market,” explains David M. Aferiat, Co-Founder, Managing Partner. In fact, Trade Ideas’ AI proves to react incredibly well even during unpredictable instances such as the Brexit announcement in 2016, presidential elections, or any other geopolitical black swan events.

HOLLY’s performance is not just dependent on one particular market risk but is a product of multiple risk factors. As a result, Trade Ideas is able to find and generate alpha in all three (small, medium, and large) market capitalization segments. Moreover, the company emphasizes high volatility and growth stocks, which are responsible for the generation of Trade Ideas’ maximum alpha. In a nutshell, a testimonial from an advisor of a major financial advisory firm observes, “Trade Ideas leads us to ideas, maybe a company or stock we haven’t thought about, which then leads us to do our own due diligence.”

With a solid background in AI and a broad spectrum of expertise, Trade Ideas is geared up to exploit the opportunities in additional and upcoming asset classes, including cryptocurrencies. “With AI driving a change in the trading landscape, Trade Ideas is robustly predicting returns over multiple investment horizons and soon across multiple asset classes,” concludes Philip.