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Quants aren’t quite so quiet these days

Demand for quants is picking up, but hiring is still sluggish in some areas.

In the front office a number of top-tier securities firms are hiring in quantitative roles, says Lionel Kaidatzis, operations director at Morgan McKinley Tokyo.

“Equity and equity derivatives seem to be key areas in which firms are looking to hire quants, with some firms looking for research quants and others looking for desk quants on the equity derivative side,” he says.

However, while demand has been steadily increasing since Q4 last year, Kaidatzis says it has yet to return to pre-credit crunch levels.

“Most openings are due to replacements or an addition of one person per area,” he says.

In the back and middle offices, things are slower.

Kevin Naylor, team manager of the financial services division at Wall Street Associates, says he is seeing little back and middle office demand for quants other than for actuaries in insurance.

“We are seeing more demand for people in MO ops and projects, and we are seeing greater demand for more technical – read numerical and IT skills – than in the past. However, quants in Japan has not been a popular area with foreign capital firms,” he says.

Kaidatzis, though, says there has been a general increase in demand for risk managers in Japan, in particular for model validation quants at some of the large Japanese investment banks.

“As with other markets, experienced market risk individuals with strong programming skills and typically at least a Masters in a heavily numerate subject are pre-requisites for local quant teams,” he adds.

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