Hungary for quants

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Morgan Stanley is hiring quants in Hungary. Are mathematically gifted types elsewhere about to go starving?

No, but it doesn't look great if you're a London quant hoping to make a packet on the back of your scarcity value. Morgan Stanley's website says it already employs 25 quants at its Budapest 'Mathematical Modelling Centre' and is looking for more. Recruiters say it shouldn't be hard to find them.

"Eastern Europe is now eclipsing France as the birthplace for quants," says Craig Fergusson, a quant-focused consultant at search firm Stephen Raby Associates. "There is a whole generation of Eastern-blockers who are exceptionally well-educated in mathematical systems."

They are also cheap. In London, Fergusson says an entry level quant is likely to command 30k to 40k base, plus a bonus of around 30% in the first year. By year three, he says the average London quant could be on 60k to 70k, plus a 60-70% bonus if he/she is lucky. In Hungary, he says, pay is likely to be significantly lower.

Hugo Sugden, a consultant at recruitment firm Selby Jennings, reckons Hungarian quants are paid around €35k, plus a negligible bonus of 20%. Banks are also setting up nests of quants in India, he says.