Fund Management & Algorithmic Trading | How Muhammad made both possible

7 min read

Ranked among the top 3 Global Fund Managers in the world, having multiple IBM certifications regarding Data Science, AI, ML and ACCA, CFA and FDP, today we bring you the journey of EPAT alumnus Muhammad Tariq.

It is his swiftness in learning to progress that steered his education towards his passion for capital markets and love for investments. He is the VP of the Swedish Business Council in Pakistan and also the Vice CIO/Partner at Tundra Fonder AB, Sweden.

Each of his achievements overshadows his previous remarkable achievement. With an insatiable desire to learn and grow, to get more out of life and the markets, and to be even more productive – this is the journey of Muhammad.

Hi Muhammad, tell us about yourself!

Muhammad Shamoon Tariq pic

Hi! I’m Muhammad Shamoon Tariq, I am a Pakistani and have lived & worked in Sweden. I've been associated with the capital markets for the last 12 years, and I started my career as an analyst which gave me decent exposure to financial modelling.

I started with financial modelling when I moved to Sweden as a Swedish based asset manager to invest globally in the emerging markets.

I'm purely a capital markets guy following the conventions of the old school like Excel modelling. We are rated in the Top Three Global Fund Managers in the World, in an emerging market space by Citywire and Morningstar.

I get to travel a lot and see a lot of cultures and that is one of the best things I love about my job. I have travelled and stayed in about 20 countries with regard to my work, especially Europe, the US, South Asia and South-East Asia, which are some of the fastest-growing markets around the world.

The pandemic has made it less possible to travel and the situation will take about a couple of years to change. Thankfully with the present technology, there are online conferences and meetings that take place.

For me, work-wise, it has been an advantage because then you have more time to communicate, conduct your meetings, manage your time schedule, and also build some skills.

I am now working on the first Robo-advisor in Pakistan, to provide access to savings products in a country with a 220mn population.

My hobbies consist of travelling of course, but I love fishing, skydiving and scuba diving as well. I am a licensed skydiver too!

Could you describe your journey and how Algo Trading came into the picture?

I was actually an engineering student and was pretty good at Math and Physics. So, I was on summer vacation and my friend had a brokerage house and we spent about a month on it. That made me realize that this was what I want to do.

I then changed my education, moved toward finance, and completed my ACCA and CFA in 2008. I was in Islamabad back then, but there weren't many opportunities for finance so I moved to Karachi and started as a Financial Analyst where I worked for 2 years. There, I created the financial models for the industry by myself from scratch and loved financial modelling.

After some years of creating various financial models, and a lot of coding, it felt like a repetitive routine in the field and I wanted to try something new. The opportunity arose when I started talking with international clients. I was advising clients, and guiding high net worth individuals, but moreover, working here was quite fulfilling for me.

One of my clients was the Swedish company that hired me in a Research role. In a couple of months, I became a Fund Manager, six months later I was a Partner, and then a year later I was a decent Shareholder of the company.

I love to automate things. It's not just because of computer science, more like when you're making a financial model - you are creating it and automating it. You change the variables, you change the logic, and the model itself is giving you the outcome.

I love capital markets. I love investments. I like trying new things and often engross myself in diving deeply into financial models. Currently, I'm enrolled in the London School of Economics program of data science and business analytics.

So, I've been used to it, to Excel or other conventional tools that we have been using in the past, but not in Python or any computer language. As time passed and I saw the progress of technology and experienced it when I helped my brother’s technology startup in building backend infrastructure in 2015.

I started to think - why not automate the models? I had data at hand and I thought why not create research models for the companies to forecast their earnings? So that's where it started.

I started with something that can bring efficiency to what I do. I started to look for certain specific courses with this in mind and I enrolled and completed many online courses related to Data Science and Machine Learning from some popular course providers. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the direction.

The courses were not structured, be it courses on Python or Data Science, etc. None of them guided with the particular steps, what comes next, and so on. For example, had I learnt ML and AI and then gone on to learn Python, it would’ve been a disaster.

So, here I was, looking for a more structured approach because this is what I wanted to do. Although I’m automating, although I have been bringing efficiency to my work, I needed that guidance.

Did the lack of knowledge of programming stop you from learning Algo Trading?

I'm good with logic, but I was not good with technology, as I never had any exposure to technology.

So, I’d wonder,
What can be done using technology in trading?
What sort of architectures are needed?
What programming language is needed?
Which language is good or bad for programming?

And that is how after a lot of searching I came across EPAT.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were online courses that had started, and data science was what had attracted me which was quite basic. I had to understand that very basic because it takes data science and machine learning.

But, that’s not what I wanted! They were teaching some obsolete programming languages. Although I paid for them, I wasn’t happy and so I discontinued those courses.

That was when I came across EPAT, I had discussions over multiple calls with the QuantInsti team and I was a bit concerned about the cost of the course because of my previous experiences. But I’m a risk-taker by nature and wanted to give it a try.

The worst possible outcome was the loss of time and money, but that did not happen at all. But all my doubts were put to rest as soon as I started with EPAT.

To create an algorithm, one way is to just import the library that was implemented and the other to just poke at it and experiment. For someone like me who has some exposure to logic and algorithms; if I wanted to create my own algorithm, I wasn’t aware of how to go about it. I had to put in a lot of effort just to get to the foundation.

However, the learning experience might be different for someone with a different skill set and have different knowledge and experience.

What I liked the most about EPAT was:

  • The structure
  • Hand-holding from basics to advanced fields
  • Dedicated support

Over the 6-months, I’ve had a great learning experience, and earned my EPAT Certificate of Excellence, and EPAT has given me a strong foundation to build upon.

Being in the top management, you’re a busy man - how did you manage your time for EPAT?

I am a working man but my passion is what made me make time for EPAT and learning. Despite being in different time zones, and being surrounded by the Pandemic, I used to wake up early for work and could attend the live lectures after that.

While attending the live lectures, you have some questions that can be immediately answered. And if you are listening to the recording lectures, the support system has been really good – which it really is, to be honest.

Whenever you run into a problem while learning, or get stuck with conceptual problems, you have someone to ask, and the support team arranges a call for you quickly, and they try to get your queries cleared. I really appreciate and consider the Curriculum and Support as the best features of EPAT.

For example, when you are in a new country and you have a guide there, you feel a lot more comfortable immediately and that is how I felt with the EPAT Support Team here. Comfortable.

I was and still am new to programming and it will still take some time to become really proficient in it and be able to write codes. When I started with this, I really needed help, and for that, the support system was always there to help and guide me.

What’s your advice to the aspiring Algo Traders?

What QuantInsti provides via EPAT is not just Algo-trading. It is more than that!

It is an investment field and trading is part of it. There is the entire stock picking, research and analysis, advice, and then it translates to trading - that makes the whole process a journey.

What EPAT is already doing is covering this entire journey, not just creating building blocks of Algorithmic Trading. One can utilize this knowledge to bring efficiency in their work or to predict the price movement, come up with an economic model and so on.

EPAT provides not only the knowledge of Algo Trading but also Algo Investment since it covers the entire investment process. EPAT is not confined to only the trading community. It attracts research analysts, fund managers, technical traders, and people from sales too.

It may not seem essential right now, but 5 years down the line, Algorithmic Trading will become a necessity. Anyone with this knowledge will have an edge above the competition be it companies, or jobs and will be able to access and utilize that knowledge.

Go for Algo Investment even if it is not your passion, but do it just so that you may survive out there. It’s a game of survival right now. Everyone is cutting off human resources and using technology and automation, so it is better to be prepared for the future, today. If you aren’t learning Algo Investment or adopting technology in your trading, this is the right moment to do it.

Thank you for taking out the time to talk to us even with such a busy schedule, Muhammad. It was great conversing with you. Your journey is quite inspiring and we hope it continues to be even better. Best wishes to you.

If you too desire to equip yourself with lifelong skills which will always help you in upgrading your trading strategies, this algo trading course is just what you need. With topics such as Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, and Machine Learning, it ensures that you are proficient in every skill required to excel in the field of trading. Check out EPAT now!

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this success story has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT programme. Success stories are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be used for investment purposes. The results achieved post completion of the EPAT programme may not be uniform for all individuals.

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