Quants Often Work Like, But Are Not Supported Like Startups

You might be surprised that I write (a completely unstructured) post series about quants. You would maybe be even more surprised, knowing that less than 20% of our many hundred users are quants in the core sense. The vast majority are investment and risk professionals.

However, Quantsourcing is part of our Brand Promise. It is two-sided. We think, we understand quant work because we do quant work - a more generic library and risk management quant work. And we are still organized like a startup, in autonomous groups. This drives our creativity. At the other hand we have a few rules that keep us in the comfort zone (but not too many).

I am wondering why financial institutions still give quants, energized by motivations such as learning and motivation, not a climate for cultivating creativity, but a corset of rules that does not only cover the what, but also the how? They could really benefit from maintaining the startup spirit, speed and ease of their quant teams. Like us, quants must not be industrialists.

Recently, we had a quite spirited discussion at the Wilmott Programming and SW Forum - it was about a risk analytics platform selection by a high level management of a bank ... that the quants do not like. I even think this a great platform for many applications, but it turned out that it was not "perfect fit" for their purpose. A specialized bank with quite complex instruments, I guess.

So, thinking deeper about the different kinds of quant work is not luxury. I really want to avoid sales against the actors. And in my experience it is great working with clients that recognize that quants are kind of permanent startups. New is always for now.

Picture from sehfelder