One of the U.K.'s most successful hedge fund managers has spoken of the benefits of using the "emotionless systematic approach" of automated stock-picking rather than following a consensus trade.
With $25 billion in assets under management and 340 employees, David Harding's Winton Capital is the world's 14th-largest hedge fund firm, according to investing publication Alpha magazine. Winton is a commodity trading adviser (CTA) fund which is a hedge fund that uses financial innovations like futures contracts and are usually systematic traders or trend-followers.
Often dubbed as the "Wizard of Winton," Harding is known in the industry for profitable long-term bets on oil and gold, as well as making hay during the global financial crash of 2008. Harding is a fan random stock-picking – selecting any 50 stocks and weighting them equally -- rather than tracking an index like the S&P 500.
He told CNBC Thursday that his computer has helped take advantage of the trends in the oil markets, the sovereign debt markets and the U.S. dollar which have made the firm "lots of money."
"Last year, the CTAs, fortunately for them, for once, were a clear winner," Harding told CNBC at the Investors Choice Awards in London on Thursday.