Wanted: technological whiz-kids with mathematical flair

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Know a good quant developer? If you do - and they're looking for work - odds are they'll get snapped up by one of Australia's banks.

Despite recent ructions in the derivatives market, quantitative developers skilled in the development of complex, risk-based derivative instruments remain in high demand across the finance sector, according to recruiters.

"If you can find a good one you can find them work reasonably quickly," says Jeremy Steele of Sirius Technology, "but the problem is there's not that many around."

National Australia Bank recently recruited a global head of quant from the UK to head a specialised team of about nine in Sydney.

"Each bank has its own group of quants - whether it's in market risk or within financial markets themselves - and most trading desks are supported by a quant developer, somebody who writes models for them and is fairly switched on from a programming perspective," says Oliver Darkes, senior consultant at Carmichael Fisher.

A good 'quant', with a computer science degree and a technical skill-set focused on C++, OO design and SQL, plus an understanding of instruments such as swaps and caps, can command six-figure salaries and attractive bonuses.

Stuart Allen of Adaps IT recruiters confirms there's demand in Australia, but adds that in international banks a lot of quant development is being done elsewhere: "With the international trading organisations these days, a lot of their development is being done overseas."

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