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Sven Bouman, Saemor Capital

Systematic approach captures alpha opportunities

By Sven Bouman, Saemor Capital – Saemor Capital is a specialist systematic investment manager, based in The Hague. Saemor has won a number of awards including long-term performance over five years. Saemor is AIFMD-regulated manager, managing over USD500 million. The company was founded in 2008 with the backing of insurance company Aegon as a cornerstone investor. Aegon decided to optimise its equity portfolio by splitting the alpha from the beta, allowing Sven Bouman and his team to spin off to manage a long/short market-neutral fund investing in European equities. 

Saemor has a team of 24, with a highly experienced investment team of eight. Many of the senior investment team members have worked together for over nine years at Saemor. Our DNA is that we are equity investors by nature, not rocket scientists who made a career change into finance. We learned in the first eighteen months to become even more systematic in our approach and implemented changes that have been in place for the last seven years. 

The backbone of the European strategy is our systematic approach to investing, culminating in a multi-factor alpha model. We aim to capture alpha opportunities by the careful implementation and monitoring of strategies which we have developed and tested extensively over many years, and which we believe have relevance to today's markets. Our process is continuously evolving but the way in which we objectively evaluate existing strategies alongside new innovations remains constant. While we focus on systematic strategies a vital human input is still evident throughout our process. We have to make judgement calls on which data and which statistics to use (and which to ignore); we also never lose sight of the fact that, in the end, it is real-world companies that we invest in. 

Our investment process is based around a constantly evolving alpha model, which ranks stocks in our investment universe across four quadrants: valuation, price & earnings momentum, profitability & growth, and quality. We implement a bespoke model for each European sector, using the latest insights from our own research and that of academia. 

As a systematic manager, risk management is an integrated and central part of our investment process. We diversify our risk by taking positions in a large number of companies and imposing limits on the size of positions. We also believe there are potential risks which need to be monitored and controlled at the sector and country level. 

Saemor was granted a MiFID services extension in March 2017. This enables us to offer customised solutions for investors. Saemor is one of the more established managers in the Netherlands and has set up an institutional infrastructure. We have been managing a Dutch onshore Fund since 2008 and we are working with a globally recognised asset manager on a UCITS solution, which will be followed by a Cayman version in 2018. Adding new structures has been driven respectively by interest from European and global institutional investors. These Funds will be traded pari-pasu and mirror the flagship strategy. 

As well as having a strong regulatory environment, The Netherlands offers a strong pool of talent with a high density of asset managers and one of the largest pension markets in Europe. The Dutch universities are also highly regarded with a strong quantitative influence. This environment enables us to hire and retain talented individuals.

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