Asperger's in the City?

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The former head of equity derivatives at Credit Suisse has it, and recruiters come across it frequently. Is the City a haven for Asperger's sufferers?

Last week, Jerome Drean, CS's former equity derivatives head, received a criminal conviction and a suspended prison sentence for attempting to defraud the University of York by sitting an exam on behalf of one of its students.

Drean, who'll find it difficult to work in the City again, suffers from Asperger's syndrome, according to the Times.

A form of autism, Asperger's is a lifelong condition which causes sufferers to have varying amounts of difficulty in social situations. Many are of above average intelligence and can be obsessed with particular fields of interest.

Recruiters say Asperger's syndrome is relatively prevalent on quant desks, where it helps to have a passion for numbers, and client contact isn't an issue.

"I've come across quite a few people who I suspect have it," says the managing director of one quant-focused recruitment firm, who asked not to be named. "There are a few heads of desks who are very awkward socially, unable to look you in the eye, and who talk in a monotone. It's not an issue as long as they can communicate with the traders."

Another quant recruiter says Asperger's can be a plus for some roles: "My client hired someone with Asperger's into a data analysis role. He'd memorised every postcode in the county and had interests based around digesting huge sets of data. The role involved analysing data sets across 125 different markets, so he was considered ideal."

Does banking offer sufferers of Asperger's syndrome an opportunity to use their disability constructively? And how prevalent is it really? Comments welcomed.