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The Golden Age of the Quant & The Visual-Spatial Learner

Traders Magazine Online News, March 1, 2019

Enrico Cacciatore

In response to eFinancialCareers article: "The age of the quant is coming to an end" - - I fortunately see a very different future for those with STEM skills aka “Quants” in the financial field. The author is using a myopic view, applying his or her own two decades of personal experience and blanketing the entire quant space.

The application of “quantitative skills” – modeling, optimization, predictive analytics, simulation, automation, machine learning/artificial intelligence, risk management, application of alternative data, big data, software and hardware development, etc. – are growing in scope in the financial space. The application of these skills is evolving and the role of the quant is growing. The author talks of banks as if it is the only place Quants work. If the escalator slows down or stops, think about walking. We need to pick our head up and look around. We need to be creative, be entrepreneurial. Talk to any Head of HR or quant recruiter and they will tell you the demand for talent with such skills is in high demand. The banks still have strong demand for Quants, but the real greenfield is in fintech, blockchain, systematic investing, crypto, and start-ups that are in the early stage of disrupting the tradition banks and asset managers. This is more about applying STEM learning in an industry that is transforming as the result of technological advances, big data and global connectivity. 

The other beauty of STEM skills are that they are transferable. You can be an astrophysicist studying Lyman-alpha emitting galaxies and using quant techniques to determine how factors such as dust, stellar mass and gas can influence their evolution at high redshift and then go work at a quant fund to apply the same skills in determining alpha signal factors from petaflops of alternative data. It is all about applying creativity to problems using STEM skills to make the world more efficient, productive and return on investment in you, your education and the company. It is all about being part of a team and knowing how you can provide the most value to the goals of that team. If you provide true value that is hard to find, trust me, you will get paid and paid well. 

Enrico cacciatore is Senior Quantitative Trader - Head of MarketStructure & Trading Analytics at Voya.

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