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City nerds have taken over the trading universe - The Times


Created: 8 April 2013
Written by: Charles Orton-Jones
Originally featured in The Times


Charles Orton-Jones traces the rise of a new breed of City computer geeks who prefer algorithms to champagne and Lamborghinis

Quants are physics PhDs, mathematicians and computer science graduates. It’s the role of these quantitative analysts to programme the trading machines which now dominate the City. They write algorithms which know when to buy and when to sell. They use massive computing power to analyse the market. As computer trading has risen, so has the status of quants.

Dary McGovern, managing director of timetotrade, which allows retail investors to create their own algorithms, says the personal side is vanishing. “A lunch might be used for an introduction. After that, why would you? I was talking to an institutional guy recently and he said they don’t even like to take phone calls any more. They don’t want that interaction. Computers are doing it all,” he says.

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