While there's been rather lackluster hiring in the hedge fund world, things have rapidly picked up since the New Year began, especially for quant research associates. Usually, downturns aren't necessarily the time when funds devote resources to bringing in new and less seasoned blood. Proven players have been the focus.
But according to Evan Lerman, a principal and founding member of search firm IJC Partners, capital allocation problems at hedge funds are beginning to disappear. Assets under management are growing. And for his business, "it's like someone switched on the light," he says. "Clients have come out of the woodwork, looking for people."
Hedge funds sometimes refer to quant research associates as quant analysts. Not only do they need the financial acumen, they should have advanced programming skills. That said, quant researchers are hard to find, given all of the skill sets required.
Hedge funds want them to have a Ph.D. in economics, finance, mathematics, computer science or some other quant discipline. Then they've got to possess the financial smarts and research skills to keep the fund's investment strategies and risk management strong. Quant research associates also need to create, model, back test, simulate and get tools for trading into production. Typically, Java, MatLab, C++, Python, OOP, VB and Excel skills are required.
If you're just out of school, you're not going to be on anyone's radar for this type of job. Firms want someone with the right pedigree and a minimum of two to five years experience. Quant research associates are expected to be jacks-of-all-trades. Most funds look for buy side investment firm experience. And, Lerman says, the pay is good, ranging from $125,000 to $150,000 plus bonus.