February 27, 2017 | 5 min read
Spotlight On Emerging Trends: Quantitative Trading


In the world of financial services, professionals who work in the industry know that uncertainty within the market does not bring confidence to those making or advising on trading decisions.  As a result, those professionals are constantly looking for ways to decrease that uncertainty in order to make better decisions for their clients.  “Because of those needs, quantitative trading has grown substantially as a reliable way to make trading decisions,” says Victor Tang, a Senior Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services Division.

Quantitative trading, developed by mathematicians and engineers, creates trading strategies based on data analysis that can tell investors exactly when to buy and sell in order to get the maximum payout.   “One of the reasons these programs have been so successful is that quantitative trading takes the emotion out of these decisions,” notes Victor.  “While some investors may buy and sell based on companies that they like or dislike, these algorithms take that out of the picture.  Its only focus is to get the best return for the client.”

Not only are these programs highly sophisticated, but they are actually working.  For those organizations who have begun using these algorithms, they have seen higher returns.  Because of this, they are investing more funds into resources to support expanding quantitative trading operations.  “We’ve seen a lot of growth in hiring for quantitative trading development, and those who have the right background can land some amazing opportunities,” says Victor.  “As we continue increasing our use of technology, the amount of opportunities available will only continue to grow.”

Additionally, Victor notes that the field is still very experimental.  “Different portfolio managers have different strategies, and developers continue to create new algorithms all the time,” explains Victor.  “For professionals looking for an innovative career path, quantitative trading has a lot to offer.”  In particular, Victor says that these two positions have seen exceptional growth:

  • Quantitative Developers: Quantitative Developers work on the back end to put the algorithm into production. “These opportunities are ideal for software engineers with a Bachelor’s degree,” says Victor.  “They are typically experts in programming languages such as C++ and Javascript.”  Additionally, Victor notes that hiring managers are often looking for candidates who have several years of experience as a software engineer.
  • Quantitative Researchers: Most professionals entering quantitative research are actually analyzing trends and developing the algorithms that are then entered into a program. “As a result, those looking to enter into the field have a Ph.D., as well as a background in computer science or machine learning,” explains Victor.  “Hiring managers often look for candidates who have interned at a top technology company or a leading hedge fund.”  Plus, Quantitative Researchers are fluent in programming languages like Python and R in order to create these algorithms.

In addition to the technical skills professionals should look to develop, Victor also notes that soft skills like problem solving and emotional intelligence are key attributes in a good hire.  “Much of the job involves solving ambitious problems, so professionals who enjoy a difficult brain teaser would make a good candidate,” says Victor.  “Additionally, a high level of emotional intelligence suggests that you look at situations in a logical manner, which points to a professional who can help take the emotion out of trading.  By brushing up on these skills, you can give yourself an edge up on candidates that may have a similar technical background to your own.”

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