MEET ROBERT (Bob) VAN ART
Who I am
I am a self confessed "computer nerd". I began my career in the computer industry in 1966 by attending the Institute of Computer Management and then joining the U.S. Navy. Because of my background in computers the Navy assigned me to the Strike Planning Division working on war game simulators. I was fortunate to be working directly with two very smart guys, respectively a physicist and a statistician. For the next six years I was immersed in the world of moving statistical theory to computer code. It was a magnificent learning environment.
Upon leaving the Navy I entered the business world with a company named Trilog. Trilog was acquired by a company called COMSHARE. Several years later I left COMSHARE and with help of an executive from Goldman Sachs and a $250,000 loan I started TrustMark and ran the company for ten years. TrustMark became very successful.
This caught the eye of a firm call Charles Schwab and in 1995 I sold TrustMark to Schwab.
I invested the proceeds with a wealth manager. The year 2013 was great for the stock market. You could toss a dart at the wall and pick a great stock or mutual fund. My guys unfortunately did not fare very well that year. While market returns were generally in the 20% and above range my guys returned under 10%. This was the genesis for the development of Equilla. I immersed myself in developing an algorithm that would consistently beat a Buy and Hold approach. In early 2015 I found an approach that showed promise and by December of 2015 I used the algorithm (which I now call Equilla) for the first time on my own portfolio. It works.
Why I do this
First of all I want to showcase Equilla the model that I’ve been refining since January 2014. Equilla has become a passion for me.
Secondly, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the ideas and research that went into building Equilla. I love statistics, numbers, and especially writing computer code. I’ve spent several thousand hours building Equilla. Seeing the model actually improve performance for the portfolios I’m running is very gratifying.
I think it is important to understand the mechanics of how things work and that’s the way I approach my research. If we understand the basic physics we can better understand and manage the system. I use an empirical approach. First observe, form a hypothesis about the observation, and then test the hypothesis. The process is tedious and often ego deflating but the results can be gratifying.
What I can do for you
I hope that sharing what I’ve done and learned will be beneficial to other investors and developers. I don’t have all the answers. I’ve never been “the smartest guy in the room”. But I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot during this on going process. Maybe what I share will spark some ideas and that you will share your ideas with me.