Chair placed into front of a window

Our history

Always moving forwards

Decades of research and innovation

Winton has maintained its position as a leading alternative investment management firm by not standing still. We combine the benefits of deep market experience with a relentless focus on research and innovation.

A timeline of our history


Hedge fund startup

David Harding founded Winton in 1997 following the sale of his former company, Adam, Harding and Lueck (AHL), to ED&F Man. Winton began trading in October that year out of a mews house office in Kensington, London, with $1.6 million of assets and two employees.

David’s initial strategy used the same systematic trend-following approach to futures trading that he had been pioneering with his AHL partners since the 1980s.


The emphasis that David placed on research soon led to strategy enhancements and an emerging edge versus Winton's trend-following CTA competitors.

This early success encouraged David to begin building a large research team. Unimpressed with the finance industry’s obsession with efficient market theory, David looked beyond traditional investment management hiring pools, recruiting scientists skilled at identifying signals in noisy data.



Rapid growth

Winton grew into a multi-billion-dollar investment management firm during these years, forming longstanding partnerships with institutional investors and broadening its client base across the globe.

Our strategy continued to develop against the backdrop of the Commodity Super Cycle and Global Financial Crisis, providing valuable diversification at difficult times for traditional stock market investments.


Research remained the focus as we added to our headcount and expanded into new futures trading strategies, over-the-counter instruments, and long-short equities. The opening of our first overseas office in Hong Kong in 2008 led us to spot an opportunity in China’s thriving futures markets, paving the way for the first CTA in China launched by a foreign firm.

Our research and risk management innovations during these years proved especially important in the decade that followed.



Global expansion

Our flagship programme was successful in a “lost decade” for trend-following CTAs, with the wider industry entering a sustained drawdown. Our trading benefited from the inclusion of new strategies, the careful development of our trend-following strategy, and our risk management proving effective during several sharp industry reversals.

We established a global footprint across four continents, with offices in New York, Sydney and Shanghai. We started offering variations of our flagship investment programme to clients who wanted targeted exposure to our diversified CTA and trend-following capabilities.

To satisfy demand from a growing variety of investors, we launched our strategies in a wide range of fund structures around the world.


Our research team assessed dozens of futures and equities strategies a year, while incorporating best practice from pharmaceutical research to mitigate the effects of selection bias. Exposure to long-short equity strategies in our flagship programme increased, data collection efforts ramped up, and we began trading our first strategies based on research into proprietary datasets.

The development of a fully functioning asset management business in Shanghai led our Chinese CTA subsidiary to grow into one of the largest foreign-owned alternative investment management firms.

With profits from our firm’s investment management activities, we formed Winton Ventures to back early-stage science and technology companies.



Committed to original research

We continued to add strategies to our flagship programme, as we sought out more consistent returns. To broaden our capabilities into new strategies, we added complementary talent to our research team, and our investment universe was built out to include thousands of global equities and a wider range of OTC markets and credit instruments. 

We made our China CTA strategy available to our global client base for the first time. Similarly, we began offering the alternative markets strategy trading within our flagship programme as a standalone portfolio. These strategy building blocks created further opportunities for our institutional clients to customise their Winton investment profile. 


We opened a new office in Abu Dhabi during 2019, making us the first major hedge fund management firm with a base in the United Arab Emirates. And, as the underlying portfolio companies matured, we began to reap the rewards of our Winton Ventures investments.

Our overarching business strategy has been a constant since David Harding founded Winton in 1997: to seek out industry-leading returns through a consistent focus on research and development. In this vein, we continue to commit considerable time and energy to original research, to the development of new strategies, and to seeking out other innovations that can improve returns for our clients.