Goldman Sachs is all about strats. Current CEO Lloyd Blankfein underscored the bank's emphasis on quantitative strategists or "strats" in a presentation in February. Soon-to-be CEO David Solomon spoke about Goldman's emphasis on quants and technologists in his own presentation in June. Other banks have been busy copying Goldman Sachs' strats model. So, why would you want to be a mere trader nowadays when you could reinvent yourself at the highest level in the hottest role in the industry?
This may have been the thought process of Hamza Hoummady the former head of European rates and options trading at Barclays. As of this month, Hoummady is no longer a trader: he is a managing director in Goldman Sachs macro strats team in London.
Goldman didn't respond to a request to comment on Hoummady's arrival, but it's a significant move both for Hoummady and the firm.
Hoummady himself studied the infamous DEA with Statistics course in Paris before becoming an equity derivatives quant at Calyon and then moving into rates trading. He's therefore well placed to become the sort of macro strat who might be found sitting on a trading desk, creating quantitative pricing models and insights into market behaviour. At Barclays, he was working on new pricing formulas for swaptions.
Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, is building its strats team under Thalia Chryssikou, its London-based co-head of global sales strats and structuring across FICC and equities, and a former head of EMEA interest rates sales. In a post on Goldman's own website, Chryssikou said in January that the firm is hiring a new generation of strats to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain business insights. Chryssikou added that Goldman was as interested in experienced hires as hiring people out of college. Houdy appears to fall into the former category.
Goldman's rates traders have a history of becoming interested in machine learning. David Ha, the bank's former head of Japanese rates trading, is now a research scientist at Google Brain.