WSO: Changes Observed

Esuric's picture
Esuric - Certified Professional
Rank: Almost Human | banana points 8,775

So I've participated on these fora now for the better part of 5 years, and I've noticed some significant changes. Some of the changes are easily explainable, while others are not. I wanted to share some of my observations and get some feed back from the community.

Joined in 2013 and noticed the following developments (writing on cell. Please excuse format):

  1. Significant decline in MSF related threads:

I can attribute this to a booming economy (thanks Trump) and therefore to a lower supply of desperate non target graduates.

  1. Significant decline in ER related threads:

I can attribute this to regulatory changes.

  1. Significant increase in political threads:

I can attribute this to the Trump phenomenon and the disruption of the establishment.

  1. Significant increase in the number of quants on the forum:

It seems like nowadays, everyone's a Quant. The CBS value investing guys are now preaching smart beta, factor loading and momentum. I've been predicting the decline (outflows and fee pressure) of active AM for a while now, but I did not anticipate the rapid shift to quant style strategies. In the end, I think it's mostly a gimmick and won't be around, in this capacity, for too long.

  1. Significant increase in the number of RE threads:

I'm not sure why, but RE threads have been incredibly prominent lately. It could be the results of contraction in traditional high finance channels (ER, AM, ST, etc.), but it seems to be approaching the quantity of IB related threads. It could also be related to our low interest rate environment. Curious to get the community's thoughts.

  1. Bump in S&T related threads:

Not sure why, or even if true.

  1. Increase in troll threads:

No, I dont mean threads where controversial opinions are shared. I mean pure troll threads. I won't mention any names (not supposed to feed the egos of either serial killers or trolls by naming them), but we know who they are. Why are they increasingly dictating the conversation? Not sure.

Curious to get your thoughts. Feel free to share any of your observations.

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Comments (21)

Feb 19, 2019

WSO doesn't do nearly enough to stop trolls. There are probably a dozen known trolls that post here regularly and everyone knows who they are, but the mods won't do anything about them.

I don't mind when trolls start their own threads about silly topics because it's quarantined. What's bad is when they post in actual helpful topics and derail the thread by enraging people too dumb to realize they're trolling.

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Feb 19, 2019
Feb 19, 2019

It took way too long though

Feb 20, 2019
EliteStudent12:

WSO doesn't do nearly enough to stop trolls. There are probably a dozen known trolls that post here regularly and everyone knows who they are, but the mods won't do anything about them.

I don't mind when trolls start their own threads about silly topics because it's quarantined. What's bad is when they post in actual helpful topics and derail the thread by enraging people too dumb to realize they're trolling.

I'll admit it - I laughed

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Feb 20, 2019

Erhem.

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Feb 19, 2019

They should just ban all the trolls to be honest, shit is annoying.

Funniest
Feb 19, 2019

I've noticed a fairly significant increase in mirror selfies.

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Feb 20, 2019

hah!

Feb 20, 2019
Layne Staley:

I've noticed a fairly significant increase in mirror selfies.

A staggering increase. Also, a significant increase in posts of pictures of girls from Tinder, which is even more disturbing. I don't throw around the word 'creepy' lightly, but that is absolutely creepy.

Most Helpful
Feb 20, 2019
Esuric:

5. Significant increase in the number of RE threads:

I'm not sure why, but RE threads have been incredibly prominent lately. It could be the results of contraction in traditional high finance channels (ER, AM, ST, etc.), but it seems to be approaching the quantity of IB related threads. It could also be related to our low interest rate environment. Curious to get the community's thoughts.

I believe @AndyLouis said it is the second most active forum after IB. Frankly, times are good in the RE world, so it's no surprise that more and more people are interested, and when you have a really solid group of people who are knowledgable about the topic and interested in helping others, it turns into a pretty solid community of RE posters.

I am prolific on the RE forum and people regularly ask me questions, but then people such as @Count_Chocula and @Ricky Rosay in turn give me advice, and it's all very helpful. There are so many knowledgable posters on the topic - @MonkeyWrench , @pere797 , @cpgame , @Trunk Yeti , @Ozymandia , @SponsorPromote and many more whose names I can't remember - that the community has grown right along with the market.

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Feb 20, 2019

I'd also attribute it to the fact that we're in a relationship business with a pay it forward mentality. That's why I always try and help people who reach out, because I had a ton of people go to bat for me and teach me. I think that "spirit" is pretty unique to our industry, and it has seemingly manifested itself on the RE board. Plus real estate folks love to shoot the shit.

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Feb 20, 2019

100% this

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Feb 20, 2019

Same, while I'm just starting my career, I likely wouldn't be where I am without the guidance I received on WSO. This website has been instrumental in my growth.

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Feb 20, 2019

good thread @Esuric I've noticed the same thing about RE, and since that's not an area of the market I know well, it's been enlightening to snoop around.

on quant, I agree, can't go on forever

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Feb 20, 2019

The old MBA threads were significantly more helpful, with tons of people posting about their experience and where they got in. Nowadays, I made a thread that only has 1 or 2 responses. No more PE guys shooting for their MBA - probably a sign of changing PE landscape (no longer is MBA necessary to move up) and hot economy (hard to stomach the price + 2 years off)

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Feb 20, 2019
Esuric:

quant style strategies. In the end, I think it's mostly a gimmick and won't be around, in this capacity, for too long.

What makes you think that Quant style strategies are a gimmick? They seemed to have performed well in recent years, above active AM as you said. If what you say is correct, that only really leaves room for passive?

Feb 20, 2019
LDNFinance:
Esuric:

quant style strategies. In the end, I think it's mostly a gimmick and won't be around, in this capacity, for too long.

What makes you think that Quant style strategies are a gimmick? They seemed to have performed well in recent years, above active AM as you said. If what you say is correct, that only really leaves room for passive?

Hmm, a strategy picking up pennies.. where can anyone get the idea that that's gimmicky

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Feb 20, 2019

damn it feels good to be a gangsta

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Feb 20, 2019

No I think active investing will have its place, though in a more limited, narrow capacity. There has been an oversaturation of effectively snake oil salesmen in the industry selling levered beta and calling it alpha.

This is how I see it:

I think the quant thing is a fad for a few reasons: (a) sudden shift to quant style investing by investors that don't really have quant backgrounds, (b) "quant, tech, machine learning" etc. are buzzwords that stupid people are irrationally attracted to at the moment and (c) markets are still becoming increasingly liquid and efficient (in part because of new tech and quant style trading).

Greater market efficiency reduces the size of the alpha pie across all trading strategies, quant or not. The traditional, active strategies have long been outdated and so they're dying off as LPs increasingly realize they're overpaying for sub-par performance (and have been overpaying). Quant strategies are better, but they too suffer from capacity constraints.

This particular style of investing doesn't have the ability to absorb all of the fleeing capital form other, more traditional strategies. Oversaturation in any trading style will produce poor returns at the margin. Non quant GPs are becoming quants simply to satiate this demand, though they don't have the capability to execute.

That's basically the definition of a gimmick. Again, this is my theory, but there's a lot of monkey see monkey do at the moment. You have non quant guys poaching quants (typically of east Asian origin) without really understanding what it is they're doing. A lot of these guys will crash and burn as soon as there's a meaningful correction.

Again, this is my view. I have been wrong in the past.

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Feb 23, 2019
Feb 20, 2019