NMRQL Research — SA’s first investment manager powered by machine learning — plans to launch factor-based funds that it hopes will be easier for investors to understand. The Michael Jordaan-backed fintech uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to drive research, analysis and stock selection, offering a hedge fund and unit trust fund. Jordaan, the former CEO of First National Bank, has invested his retirement savings in the NMRQL unit trust. "It is important to demonstrate to outside investors that I have proper skin in the game," he told Business Day. But the sophistication of NMRQL’s technology, which removes the human element in investment decision-making almost entirely, has proved a hurdle to sales. NMRQL’s assets of R75m, of that, R25m in the hedge fund and R50m in the unit trust fund have not grown much since the beginning of 2018. "It’s been a little bit of a hard sell," NMRQL Research CEO Thomas Schlebusch told Business Day. "I think it’s conceptually quite d...

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