25 Oct 2007

To Quant or not to Quant?

Yesterday's Financial Times carried a polemical piece by Nassim Taleb. In it he derided the use of mathematical models and called the so-called Nobel Prize for Economics an absurdity.
While we ploughed our way through a fair share of mathematics in our undergraduate economic classes and found them pretty remote from reality, we would not go so far as to completely reject the role of mathematics in the financial markets. At that time it was a sign of stellar quant ability if a bond trader or salesman could calculate the yield to maturity on a bond without use of a calculator, but time has moved on.
The recent events in the credit markets, however, have demonstrated that at PhD in Maths cannot be a substitute for good judgement and that good character should still be the basis for a successful career and business.

4 Oct 2007

Bonus Fears: Not as bad as the headlines make believe

Some newspaper headlines predict massive job losses and a substantial drop in bonuses for financial market professionals this year. Apart from creating a bit of publicity for some of our competitors who are quoted by the media we advise clients and candidates to keep a cool head and focus on the big picture.Excessive discussions about the expected level of bonuses are a nuisance in the best of times and for many firms the year is only over on 31 December. So there is still a lot to play for. Emerging Markets are booming (too much?), and fund-raising continues at a frenetic pace in the alternative investment field.