Despite recent wobbles among computer-driven hedge funds, a good quant remains a valuable commodity. Man Group has its own quant talent incubation centre through its Institute of Quantitative Finance at Oxford University, a strategy employed less formally through Cantab Capital Partner’s links to Cambridge University. Top quants in hedge funds can easily earn six-figures after a few years in the industry.
And yet one new hedge fund, launched last week by quant ‘community’ Quantopian, aims to bypass this laborious recruitment process and any bias towards candidates based on their experience in the industry. Any quants within its user-base who produce top-performing algorithms will be given the chance to invest capital through its hedge fund, Quantopian Managers Program, which secured $15m in funding from a number of alternative investors including Bessemer Venture Partners last week.
John Fawcett, CEO of Quantopian, tells us that its aim is to “train the world’s best algorithmic and financial talent, including talent that hasn’t yet had the opportunity to be a quant”. Elsewhere, it makes money like a normal hedge fund – by charging management and performance fees to investors provided it makes a profit.
The firm is also hiring a team to run the hedge fund, but declined to give any specifics on how many people or for which roles. When it launched last year, Quantopian had a small team of six and encouraged mathematical whizz-kids to become ‘quants in residence’ so that they could earn the respect of their peers on the website.
So, how do you get involved? “We are opening up the world of professional quantitative portfolio management to our entire community - quants, investors, financial professionals,” says Fawcett. “Soon, anyone with a live trading track record on Quantopian will be eligible for inclusion into the program. Participation will be based on an individual's live trading record.”