Brain Training for a Hedge Fund Job

If you want to get an inside look at what it takes to be a quant trader, or land a hedge fund job in automated trading, check out the interview with Peter Wiesing in a recent issue of Automated Trader Magazine.

Wiesing is founder and CEO of Global Arbitrage Group. Interestingly, he has a background in brain research, as well as applying machine learning to the futures markets. He started out studying neuroscience in university, first for a master’s degree at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, then a Ph.D. at MIT. It was then he decided to pursue a Ph.D. in finance and capital markets.

Right after his second Ph.D., he founded Global Arbitrage, investing personal and colleagues’ funds, a million Euros, toward the end of 2006. He and his partners developed models for pricing options, including equity index options, and traded them on global markets on an intraday basis.

They attempted to launch a hedge fund in 2007, but the timing was obviously not the best, and seed investors pulled out. Since then, Wiesing and his team have concentrated on advisory work and risk management for clients in Europe. However, they do have a few managed accounts for family and friends where they trade statistical arbitrage strategies, such as trading futures to hedge risks in long-only portfolios. And with the hedge fund industry showing signs of life again, Wiesing is thinking of getting back into the game with a managed futures fund.

“We intend to start with a classical but very innovative managed-futures strategy, all proprietary,” Wiesing said.

So is a background in neuroscience good preparation for a hedge fund trading career? Not necessarily, says Wiesing. “However, it is critical to hire people in the quant business who have applied maths, which gives you a lot of experience in applying statistical models, which you also get if you do neuroscience or theoretical physics.”

You can read the full interview when you subscribe to Automated Trader Magazine, which in itself is a good resource for keeping up with what’s going on in the world of quant trading. In fact, they’ve just launched Automated Trader’s 2011 Algorithmic Trading Survey, an extensive poll on the state of the industry. You can get a free three-month subscription to the magazine and a chance to win Apple prizes by participating in the survey.

Are quantitative strategies part of your present trading activity or future career plans? Add your comments below.

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