Spotlight No.2: Commodities Intelligence, Mark Latham

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Introduction

The Spotlight series is designed to introduce highly successful, unusual and – in many cases – idiosyncratic providers of independent research, data, tools and thinking. The first Spotlight introduced TriggerPoint, the alpha capture and research business founded by the author of this series. This second article introduces a seasoned commodities and emerging markets specialist who has harnessed AI in an intriguing manner.

Spotlights will provide a snapshot of the motivations, approach, non-consensus ideas and career observations of unique independent research providers. Readers are welcome to contact the subject of the spotlight and/or the author (contact details below).


To describe Mark Latham, the founder of Commodities Intelligence, as a man on a mission would be something of an exaggeration, but what drives this market veteran and his AI-driven Commodities Intelligence IRP is impressive in both its originality and output.

The above quote encapsulates a significant driver of Mark’s motivation. Self-described as furious at the incompetence of London’s financial centre in adopting AI and similar technology, Mark’s 40+ years following the commodities industry has long been interlaced with a love of technology and an appreciation of the power of software.  

In the course of our conversation, the reasons behind the growing US-ROW (Rest of World) tech divide, and his strong frustrations about this, become clear. “All the American Telcos were private sector creations. Every single non-American Telco is a public sector creation that’s been/being privatized. Did you realise that?”. Compounding this, Latham notes, is a quality inherent in the American psyche that “is not in ours”. 

What does CI actually do? Where is the Alpha?

Commodity Intelligence provides specialty research, commentary and opinion on global commodity equities. The partners, through the use of customised search tools, source information on commodities and commodity equities from around the world and then analyse news and events in real time to provide a daily analysis and investment research.

In short, the alpha comes from using technology and 50+-years of combined experience to distil 25,000 stories a week from around the world into about 75 interesting stories; 5 features and up to 1 or 2 investment ideas. Mark’s track record, briefly detailed above, speaks for itself.

What has surprised you most about the way your career has evolved? 

“The biggest surprise to me is that most investors do not want alpha, what they really want is affirmation of what they already believe”.

The quest for alpha comes in many forms but an information advantage, notably in the form of good information garnered and interpreted early, is a good start. Latham’s view here is unequivocal. “By the time something is on Bloomberg, all of the alpha has gone”.

A picture is worth a thousand words – where to look for alpha

AI vs. Developers – First Strike

$500 Billion in Chinese Subsidies Creates a No-Go List

Death of the office and all that goes with it

What piece of advice would you give your younger self about the decision to go independent? 

“Go back to the US” Latham sighs…

Distilling a career, philosophy and approach into a 700-word article and do it justice is of course not possible. To get the fuller version, and discuss how C.I. and Mark could help, visit (https://www.commodityintelligence.com/about). To contact the author, either to recommend an IRP for a spotlight or to discuss TriggerPoint, email jonathantyce@trigger-point.co.uk.

Next month’s Spotlight will introduce another unique IRP using history and a stellar track record to forecast the inevitable, as he sees it. It won’t make for pretty reading but it will be a must-read.

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About Author

Mike Mayhew is one of the leading experts on the investment research industry. In addition to founding Integrity Research, Mike is on the board of directors of Investorside Research Association, the non-profit trade association for the independent research industry, and a frequent speaker on research industry trends and developments. Mike has over thirty years of research industry experience. Email: Michael.Mayhew@integrity-research.com

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