The #FutureOfWork is changing across the global financial services industry. During this recent period of unprecedented economic change, we’ve seen a growing demand from firms for quantitative analysts (or quants for short) with exactly the right blend of financial literacy, mathematical insight and programming skills to develop the complex financial models that help business leaders to better identify profitable investment opportunities and effectively manage risk.
The Unlikely Financial Superheroes
Quants are rapidly emerging as the unlikely financial superheroes; these mathematical and computational wizards can build models to help explain and analyze the complex dynamics of the financial system. To become a quant, you not only need to think scientifically, but require great intellectual prowess to solve complex and abstract problems. Quants need to be willing to deal with uncertainty and tackle some of the toughest challenges in finance, keeping a cool head under considerable pressure. The stakes are high, but the rewards are great too!
Addressing New Skills for The Future
Last month, a global audience of over 2,000 influential quant finance practitioners and academics drawn from a range of relevant disciplines and sectors, joined us for our 6th Annual Quant Insights Conference delivered virtually online by the CQF Institute, part of Fitch Learning. After six years, this forum has now become well-regarded as one of the flagship events for the quant finance community.
During this year’s conference, we conducted some industry polls with the audience and the findings revealed some interesting insights into the key drivers across the financial services sector, preferred learning pathways for quant professionals, and the skills that are likely to be most in demand during the next five years. These are set out in the summary of findings provided below.
Summary of Findings
Key Drivers – Machine Learning, AI and Data
Looking ahead to the future, Machine Learning, AI and Data are going to be the key drivers across the financial services industry. An abundance of data and cheap computational resources has led to the rapid advancement and use of machine learning and AI in all industries, especially finance. Most people felt that addressing the skills gap would require us not just to have access to these emerging technologies, but that we would also need to significantly upskill our workforce during the next five years to meet the growing Machine Learning demands.
Challenges – Adapting to Changing Skillsets
In terms of bridging the current skills gaps around Machine Learning, AI and Data and in regard to upskilling their workforces, most recognised the upcoming changes and challenges ahead and felt somewhat prepared to tackle these in the next five years, being optimistic of their place in the industry.
The Right Investment - CQF
As illustrated above in the summary of findings (Learning Insights – Quant Finance), the majority of respondents concur that having a quant finance professional qualification and practical skills are important when seeking a career in quant finance.
Whilst there are plenty of learning pathways out there for professionals to choose from, the Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF) is great for anyone who wants to learn cutting edge techniques from world renowned practitioners, who seamlessly blend the complex theory with real life practical expertise, ensuring all those who gain the qualification develop real world desk ready skills.
If you are mathematically minded and want to switch careers to work in banking, or have even been thinking about gaining the right qualifications to advance your financial services career during lockdown, then this is exactly the right time to invest in yourself and take the CQF. After all, it’s your education, skills, experience and particular way of looking at the world that are so crucially important for financial services firms to take on board now.
The road ahead right now might seem tricky and a bit unpredictable for many financial professionals. However, there can be no doubt that the financial services industry is becoming more technical and for any finance professional to stay relevant gaining quantitative skills is a must. If you can take the time to invest in yourself and learn new skills, then you not only will you increase your worth, but you’ll also future proof your professional career.
Opening Doors to International Job Opportunities
Gaining the CQF qualification is not only a great achievement, but it can be the passport to a successful international career in quant finance. It can open up new doors to exciting future job opportunities around the world - it has strong international recognition and is often specified on job descriptions.
Regionally, the countries where quantitative finance is big are generally where you would expect; the big financial centres, like London, New York and Hong Kong, where they have the breadth and depth. There is increasingly strong growth in Asia Pacific (as evidenced in our summary of findings), particularly in China and India, where the appetite for upskilling and gaining a technical skillset is growing – but the reasoning for them differs. For China, it is domestically driven by the local markets as the Chinese market opens up as the need for quantitative finance has become more and more apparent. In India, it is primarily driven by both the international banks, like JP Morgan, building out large quantitative teams to support the global business, and also for introducing new products in the local markets.
We have 5,000+ CQF alumni in over 90 countries, who hold key positions at leading organizations across the world, including Bank of America, Barclays, Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Bank of China and Bloomberg. Taking the CQF has not only enabled them to open up a wealth of networking opportunities, but also build their profiles in the global quant community by participating in local alumni groups.
The Future in Quant
The financial industry is going to constantly evolve during the next five years to keep pace with new regulations, changing customer expectations and emerging technologies. At the start of this year, top quants told Bloomberg that we should get ready for another decade of disruption across investing strategies, business models and the very structure of markets. With this in mind, even more quants are going to be needed to understand the big picture and utilise their incredibly powerful minds and skillsets within firms to stand out as the real financial superheroes.
Dr. Randeep Gug, Managing Director, CQF Institute at Fitch Learning