Hedge fund WorldQuant hires ex-Google scientist to up its AI game

BOSTON (Reuters) - Hedge fund WorldQuant hired computer scientist Yoram Singer, a former principal scientist at Google GOOGL.O, as its chief AI scientist as Wall Street races to use machine learning to decipher trading signals, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Singer, a professor of computer science at Princeton, will join WorldQuant later this month and be based in San Francisco. At Princeton Singer helped lead an artificial intelligence research lab run by the university and Google, where he worked from 2005 to 2019.

Singer could not be reached for comment.

Singer’s position at WorldQuant is a new one and illustrates how computer-driven asset management firms are trying to tap into artificial intelligence and machine learning to untangle reams of data and place potentially lucrative bets.

Thirteen years ago Igor Tulchinsky founded WorldQuant after having spent a dozen years as a portfolio manager at hedge fund Millennium Management. Today, WorldQuant invests more than $7 billion in assets for investors including Millennium and others.

Quantitative trading has become a hot area on Wall Street over the last years and its hedge funds fared better than stock picking firms during this year’s market sell-off. The average quantitative hedge fund lost 5.25% in the first four months of 2020 while the average hedge fund lost 6.56% during the same time, data from Hedge Fund Research shows.

Singer’s hire comes only weeks after WorldQuant hired former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Chropuvka, who had been co-head of the bank’s quantitative investment strategies, as president.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Tom Brown