As others debate the question of man versus machine, Leda Braga focuses on the magic in the machines.
The hedge fund industry's top woman manager attributes her success to using data in a disciplined, consistent way that has allowed her to keep customers happy and establish her place in Wall Street's boys' club.
Speaking Wednesday at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor, Braga recalled another similar event when an attendee questioned the wisdom of relying on data to make future investment decisions.
"The guy with discretion has what, a crystal ball?" she said to chuckles. "The algorithmic approach suits itself to certain types of ... investment processes," she said. "At the end of the day, the business of investment management is the business of information management, so the algorithmic process is a very effective way to do it but algorithms can't replace activists because of the human touch they bring to investments."