If you're a quant, you probably want to be a "desk quant" - working with traders, building derivatives pricing and risk models that feed directly into P&L. Alternatively, you might want to copy the career of Nicolas Hutchings, a top quant in the FX derivatives space who's just joined Morgan Stanley in London.
Hutchings' specialist subject is creating the kinds of analytics that feed into electronic systems trading FX derivatives. He has a PhD in "quantum chaos" from University College London and started life as a quantitative developer (someone who translates quantitative models into computer programs) at J.P. Morgan in London. He moved to BAML in 2007 and has spent the past five years as head of e-FX Options Analytics. Hutchings is a master of the automated volatility surface. He's also a master of creating automated bid-ask spreads and hedging for G10 FX currency derivatives.
While human FX traders lose their jobs as G10 FX revenues shrink and trading is automated, someone like Hutchings is therefore very valuable.
At least Morgan Stanley seems to think so. It's hired Hutchings as its lead FX derivatives quant. It's not clear how much he's being paid, but given Hutchings only joined last month, there's a strong possibility he received some kind of reassurance on this year's bonus.
Photo credit: Solvency Ii Wire'