A couple years ago, Chris Bartlett — a partner at buyside quant shop/high frequency firm Nobilis Capital — started hosting parties to bring the quant community together.
These semi-annual parties are still a tradition on Wall Street, but now they’re focusing on charity.
Bartlett recently co-founded Quants Give Back, which is a volunteer organisation of quantitative practitioners who get together to network and help various charities.
“If you’re a quant, you spend all of your time in front of a computer. This organisation gives people a chance to enjoy themselves, meet their peers and help raise money for a good charity,” Bartlett told us.
Quants are the super-brainy people who write programs for the automated algorithmic trading systems that have taken over the Wall Street trading landscape in the last 10 years.
On a daily basis, they spend hours upon hours in front of computer screens delving into some heavy maths. It’s actually pretty difficult to find opportunities to network with each other.
“My day is spent hours and hours in front of multiple computer screens. If I want to talk to a person who is like two desks down, I just IM him or Skype him from my computer. I don’t leave my computer to go approach him because it’s not efficient. It’s not a good use of my time. Here, this is a chance to get out and meet your peers both on the buyside as well as on the sell-side.”
Former quant Jennifer Goldson, who’s now a vice president in buyside relations at Eurex, agreed.
“In my days as a quant, I sat behind a desk with two phones and eight computer screens towering over me. It’s very hard to draw yourself out of that world. You’re attached to the markets. You’re attached to your phones. You’re attached to your Excel spreadsheets and whatever else you’re building quantitatively. That’s all day, everyday.”
Basically, that’s why Bartlett started these networking opportunities for the quants.
For the inaugural charity event, Quants Give Back chose to raise funds for Homes For Our Troops. The money will go to help build a house for a disabled veteran in New York.
Business Insider checked out the event, which was sponsored by derivatives exchange Eurex. We’ve included photos of a few of the folks we met there.