Quantitative or Algorithmic - Which Trading Type is Better?

Quantitative or Algorithmic - Which Trading Type is Better? Igor Shafran Voronkovski answers this question in our article. Improve your skills and knowledge with us.

In the world of trading, the debate on the supremacy of quantitative trading over the algorithmic one and vice versa is particularly heated. Yet, choosing which one fits you best ultimately comes down to your preferences. This article seeks to list all the advantages and disadvantages of both trading approaches to help you make your decision.

Quantitative Trading

Quantitative trading is a type of trading that focuses on using mathematical models and analytics to make decisions and identify trading opportunities for increased profitability. This approach reduces the impact of human emotions and biases that often lead to unwise trades. The use of mathematical models allows traders to identify profitable opportunities while minimizing the risk associated with each trade. It is highly scalable, allowing traders to execute trades efficiently and at a large scale. This is what makes it a go-to trading style for large financial institutions and hedge funds that deal with vast amounts of data and require quick decision-making. At the same time, it has been steadily growing in popularity with individual traders over the past decade.

The application of both mathematical and statistical models to predict market trends is the fundamental principle of quantitative trading. Unlike algorithmic trading which relies on streamlining the trading process, this approach involves analyzing historical data and identifying patterns to make informed decisions about buying and selling assets.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Quantitative Trading

In the realm of trading, a trader's decision-making is influenced by a multitude of factors. The application of a quantitative trading strategy reduces the number of these factors by relying on numerical data. As it was mentioned already, one of the key factors affecting traders’ behavior is emotions. The quantitative approach takes this issue out of the equation which potentially leads to a higher success rate in trades.

Another considerable advantage of quantitative trading is the ability to comprehensively analyze markets practically in any country on the planet in an instant by utilizing limitless arrays of data. Conventional traders, who tend to concentrate on just a handful of markets, do not have such a privilege. With the aid of mathematical techniques, quantitative traders can take advantage of a wider range of opportunities.

As for the disadvantages of this trading methodology, quantitative trading is accompanied by a prerequisite for a specialized skill set. Basically, to successfully implement the quantitative trading methodology you need to be proficient in advanced mathematics and coding.

Algorithmic Trading

Algorithmic trading makes use of computer programs to make trade decisions for you. These programs operate based on certain instructions, which are called algorithms, that take into account various market conditions, including price, liquidity, and volume.

It involves loading historical data into a computer, which is then utilized to execute optimal buying and selling orders at precisely the appropriate moment. This technique is especially popular with large investors such as pension funds. This approach lets them have an advantage by conducting all trades automatically before any human traders even have a chance to react.

Unlike qualitative trading, the algorithmic approach is designed to quickly capitalize on market movements by automatically executing trades based on predetermined rules. Moreover, this methodology does not involve making any forecasts and simply feeds on historical financial data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Algorithmic Trading

By automating the process of order placement, algorithmic trading allows traders to save valuable time and potentially lower transaction costs. Moreover, the risk of human error that is often associated with manual trading is mitigated through the use of algorithms. On top of that, traders have the ability to optimize their algorithms to further enhance their potential for success.

At the same time, this type of trading has several downsides. For instance, system failures caused by hardware or software malfunctions can disrupt the trading process and lead to a significant loss of funds. Furthermore, algo traders must have a solid grasp of computer programming since trading algorithms can be incredibly complex.


It is apparent that both quantitative and algorithmic trading have their own advantages and disadvantages. Quantitative trading involves the use of mathematical models and statistical analysis to identify trading opportunities, while algorithmic trading uses pre-programmed algorithms to execute trades. These trading types have the potential to reduce human error and improve trading efficiency. Therefore, the choice is yours.