$7 billion hedge fund WorldQuant hosted a competition for women quants. Now it's hiring 50 of the contestants as research consultants.

Hedge funds, maybe more than any other corner of finance, have a shortage of women in the professional ranks.

A 2018 Reuters investigation of hedge funds found that roughly one in 10 employees registered with British regulators as working in investment were women. Traditional asset managers counted one woman for every four people on their investment teams in contrast.

WorldQuant, a hedge fund based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, is making an effort to change that.

WorldQuant, in collaboration with advocacy groups Women 2.0, Women Who Code, and 100 Women in Finance, inaugurated its Women Who Quant (WWQ) competition this year.

The 2019 WWQ competition had 2,000 contestants from 60 countries. The top three winners were from Russia, Vietnam, and India and were hired as research consultants after the competition. In total, 50 women were hired as research consultants based on their work in the competition.

WorldQuant has a history of trying to diversify the hedge fund world. In 2017, the fund launched a tuition-free, online master’s degree program called WorldQuant University, which served more than 600 students from 35 countries in its first year. Igor Tulchinsky, WorldQuant’s founder, told Business Insider in 2017 that, “As I was developing my primary business, which has 23 offices around the world, it became quite obvious that talent is distributed very uniformly around the world, while opportunity is not.”

The company has also brought this mission to a string of competitions, the most famous being the International Quant Championship (IQC). Out of the 2018 IQC, the company offered five full-time jobs and 15 internships and hired over 400 remote, part-time research consultants. The competitors were 25% female. The winning team, which took home a cash prize of $US2,000, was a group of three women.

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WorldQuant is not the only hedge fund investing in programs that could bring more women and worldwide talent into their ranks. Point72 offers a $US20,000 Scholarship for Women that is open to all women who apply for their summer internship program. Citadel has run their Data Open competition for three years, offering $US100,000 in cash prizes and a chance to interview with the firm.

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