Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 07 August 2017 04:26:49AM 0 points [-]

Awesome! Does it make a difference with which Swiss bank I’ll have a bank account? Because I haven’t signed up for one yet.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 08 August 2017 06:48:02PM *  1 point [-]

I don't think so, Interactive Brokers supports many different account funding options: https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/software/am/am/funding/depositingfunds.htm and all banks should support wire transfers. It's important to note that we will likely be supporting additional brokers in the next few months, including DriveWealth, which has lower fees than IB. This will be relevant if the account size is small, and IB will be better if the account size is large. Feel free to message us via our Facebook page or email brendon [at] antigravityinvestments [dot] com to share information so we can provide better recommendations.

Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 05 August 2017 03:58:34PM 1 point [-]

Is there any way (any not prohibitively inefficient way) for me to use the service from Switzerland with my prospective Swiss Francs? Or for anyone outside the US for that matter? Thankies!

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 06 August 2017 01:57:50AM *  1 point [-]

Yes! Antigravity Investments is open to over 170 countries around the world through Interactive Brokers and additional brokers coming soon. We are one of the first global robo-advisors (servicing everywhere instead of a specific country or region). We also provide advising and semi-automated investment management to EAs to provide certain features while we expand international support, such as support for Ireland domiciled ETFs which may be more tax advantageous for European investors. Non-Swiss securities might require a different currency to purchase other than Francs, but Interactive Brokers does offer built in currency exchange at excellent rates.

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 02 August 2017 10:42:39AM 1 point [-]

Can you say something on the risk of lots of EAs putting their funds in the same space with the same investment manager? Should the community not diversify.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 03 August 2017 09:11:04AM *  0 points [-]

I assume your question is regarding the risk of everyone following the same investing strategy as opposed to having their funds custodied at a particular firm—our financial health has no impact on client funds because our partner SIPC-member brokerage firms will be holding the funds and not us. Regarding following the same investing strategy, that really depends on how EAs are already doing and what the alternative investment strategy is. Individual investors tend to underperform common benchmarks (https://www.umass.edu/preferen/You%20Must%20Read%20This/Barber-Odean%202011.pdf) but perhaps EA investors do better. I think that it is quite possible many EAs are currently suboptimally managing investments and that many EAs following an exceptionally well-designed strategy might produce better outcomes. If the majority of EAs are currently following a very basic strategy such as 100% stocks, then the community is vulnerable to stock market volatility and having many people follow a more diversified strategy will reduce overall risk. It might be better for everyone to diversify into different strategies, but having one trustworthy firm offer many strategies doesn't seem to be definitely worse than non-aligned firms offering strategies if the strategies are comparable.

Comment author: rohinmshah  (EA Profile) 14 July 2017 05:30:26AM 2 points [-]

Is Antigravity Investments less of an inconvenience than Wealthfront or Betterment?

(I agree that roboadvisors are better than manual investing because they reduce trivial inconveniences, if that's what you were saying. But I think the major part of this question is why not be a for-profit roboadvisor and then donate the profits.)

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 14 July 2017 10:13:13PM *  0 points [-]

Other EAs in finance have noted trustworthy people and good evidence-based advice is hard to come by, there are EA specific considerations for investing, and quality people/firms often extract a lot of the value for themselves. This could make high quality EA financial advice and investment management a non-trivial inconvenience. Betterment and Wealthfront cover a fraction of financial services—basic passive investing—and while they're cheap, their performance is subpar, very much so compared to our passive and active strategies and passive strategies in general. High quality investment management is hard to get. For someone looking to donate appreciated securities with Betterment/Wealthfront they're probably out of luck.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 11 July 2017 04:06:02AM 1 point [-]

What's the range for amounts of money that are most appropriate for you to manage?

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 11 July 2017 07:20:41AM *  2 points [-]

We don't really have a minimum, and this is made easier because automation allows us to easily scale across many client accounts. Robo-advisors have scaled with billions of dollars in ETFs so I'd say the theoretical maximum is fairly high. I'd say a good minimum is $1,000 for U.S. clients in order to generate a diversified portfolio and $10,000 for international clients because of Interactive Brokers' account minimum (only $3,000 for those under 25). We're actively exploring partnerships with additional brokers and looking into features such as fractional share investing. I believe that we're well suited to manage accounts that are in the tens of thousands to millions of dollars range. At that level all of the strategies we have can scale and for accounts with trading commissions, trading commissions become negligible.

Comment author: gustafsonja 10 July 2017 03:44:55PM 1 point [-]

Most of the performance graphs in the offerings document have 10 years of data or less, and none of them have more than 14. I'm concerned that this analysis is overfitting.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 10 July 2017 07:07:25PM *  3 points [-]

The strategies presented in the document utilize low-fee index ETFs. Most ETFs were not around more than 10 years ago, and we decided on 2007 as a rough starting point for when to start backtests seeing as critical ETFs began to exist around that time. Our backtester also currently incorporates data from the last 15 years. That is why all of the performance graphs with the exception of one strategy have roughly 10.5 years of historical data.

I'm not sure if longer backtest periods substantially reduce the risk of overfitting, but developing and optimizing over a specific in-sample period and doing significant out-of-sample testing certainly helps, and that is part of our testing and development process. We have examined performance over longer timeframes with other tools, but exporting the data from third-party tools, merging backtest results made with mutual funds with backtest results made with ETFs, considering commissions, slippage, and unreliable data, transferring it to Excel and generating graphs, integrating it into the offerings document, and figuring out how to compare annual returns and other performance metrics with different backtest periods on the offerings document and website turned out to be quite a headache so I decided to delay displaying longer term backtests in a public facing format until we can much more easily generate graphs and performance metrics through the web app which is what we are currently working on.

There is also a segment in the FAQ titled "Antigravity Investments' performance returns seem too good to be true, and past performance isn't necessarily indicative of future returns. What should my expectations be for future strategy performance?" which briefly touches on strategy development.

Comment author: Sanjay 10 July 2017 04:13:49PM *  10 points [-]

Thanks for this post, I used to work for a strategy consultancy that specialised in this sort of area, so I'm quite interested in this.

You state your value-add comes from (a) reducing fees to zero (b) tax-efficiency (e.g. donations of appreciated securities) (c) higher-performing investment strategies

I'm interested to know whether Antigravity investments is really needed when EAs have the option of using the existing investment advice that's out there. In particular:

-- (a) you also ask if people are willing to fund you. Does this mean that an alternative model for you would be to charge your clients and then allow your funders to donate to high-impact charities? If so, doesn't that mean that the zero-cost element of your model isn't actually a big advantage after all? (not meaning to be critical, I just don't know enough about your funding model)

-- (b) is it fair to say that donations of appreciated securities is a well-known phenomenon in tax-efficient donating, and anyone getting any kind of half-decent advice would get this anyway?

-- (c) (I understand you provide no guarantees) How many years of past performance do you have? Would you agree that in general, if a fund manager of any non-passive sort (smart beta or outright active) has a strong first few years, it's much more likely to be luck than an underlying advantage?

Sorry if the questions sounds sceptical, I'm conscious that I don't understand all the details about how you work.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 10 July 2017 06:45:34PM 2 points [-]

Thanks for your comment, those are great questions!

A. In our current plan, profits should come from outside the EA community with our general market and nonprofit offerings, allowing us to provide investing services to EAs for free, so we are not decreasing funding for other high impact organizations. That's how the EA-directed hedge fund we are in contact with is offering their investing strategies for free to EAs as well; 100% of their revenue comes from charging non-charitable clients. The funding part was regarding funders that wanted to have a charitable impact by increasing our speed of growth and probability of success in our initial stages of development. We do not strictly require funding to get started as evidenced by the fact that we're already managing capital and providing EAs with advising services. The code we've written should continue to work with minimal maintenance for at least several years. Funding would certainly be helpful in covering expenses at first, such as access to better curated academic research. The best case scenario is that funding allows us to scale rapidly and significantly help the broader charitable sector as well as generate funds to donate, and the worst case is that the funding does not help with scalability that much and EAs get free investment management at a higher level of development (at the cost of missing other funding opportunities as you mentioned).

B. Automated advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront don't provide any sort of support when it comes to donating appreciated securities. A wealth manager charging high fees in exchange for personalized attention might be able to offer this service but that's probably not accessible for too many people. We are exploring the possibility of offering donor advised fund services with Rethink Charity and are in active talks with another nonprofit, and that could cleanly integrate with the donation of appreciated securities from our investment platform. We can build in features that select optimal securities to donate at any given time and report tax saving metrics to donors.

C. We have live trading performance since December 2016, and the length of time since strategy development depends on the strategy. For instance the Swensen portfolio has been around since 2005, whereas the more recent allocative and systematic strategies have roughly 2 years of performance since creation. I think that there is a greater possibility of luck playing a significant role with traditional human investment management whereas with rules-based investing strategies one can assess the strategy in much greater detail and accuracy (for instance by testing across international markets and timeframes if applicable) instead of purely assessing performance after inception.

13

Introducing Antigravity Investments: Free Investment Management for the EA Community

Introduction Antigravity Investments  is an EA  social enterprise  with the charitable mission of substantially increasing funding for high impact causes by providing free, high quality financial advising and investment management services to the EA community through our own services and those of other EAs in finance. By increasing the investment... Read More
Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 05:06:10PM 1 point [-]

Thanks so much for your supportive words about the accomplishments thread, Brendon!

I think there's a trade-off between giving now and giving later. If you give now, then the social benefits will be a form of compound interest. For instance, if you give to AMF now, rather than later, they will save lives sooner, and you will have created more benefits in the world. So it would be a matter of calculating the trade-offs and comparing the compounded interest in dollars vs. in social good. Hard balance to make, and I'd be excited for someone to calculate this!

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 09:12:41PM 0 points [-]

Also technical comment, I'm new to the forum and I didn't get emailed with your comment reply or see any kind of notification, is that normal? Is there a way to get notified?

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 05:06:10PM 1 point [-]

Thanks so much for your supportive words about the accomplishments thread, Brendon!

I think there's a trade-off between giving now and giving later. If you give now, then the social benefits will be a form of compound interest. For instance, if you give to AMF now, rather than later, they will save lives sooner, and you will have created more benefits in the world. So it would be a matter of calculating the trade-offs and comparing the compounded interest in dollars vs. in social good. Hard balance to make, and I'd be excited for someone to calculate this!

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 09:07:57PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the input! Yeah I'd also be interested in the difference in impact between the two approaches, and I might post more on it in the next few days or weeks so hopefully that provokes some deep thinking on the matter.

Responding to your point on compounding societal interest, if I give $1,000 now then 1 life could be saved now, But if I wait, invest, and give $2,000 7 years later, 2 lives could be saved. How does saving 1 life 7 years earlier lead to compounding benefits? Sure that 1 person now gets to live, but if I waited to donate, than 2 people who otherwise might not have been saved would have been saved right? More net good by waiting, as long as people remain to be saved (and unless utopia is imminent I think there will still be life saving opportunities for effective charities at least in the next few years if not for the foreseeable future). I think I need help seeing the social good compounding effect.

Also an argument could be made that EA charities will become even more effective in the future, another argument to delay donating.

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