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Quant hedge fund founder: "You're "a little crazy" if you don't doubt yourself"

If you're a mathematician and you want to make big money in finance, you should probably work for a quant hedge fund. With great success can often come great hubris, but one of the top finance quants in the business suggests keeping yourself in check.

AQR founder and chief investment officer Cliff Asness features in a recent podcast from The Economist, providing advice on how to succeed in the quant space.

Do not consider yourself infallible, says Asness. The ex-Goldman Sachs MD admits "I will have crises of confidence where I wake up and say maybe we’ve just gotten lucky." Asness says anyone who doesn't feel like that "occassionally are either dishonest or a little crazy."

This is especially true in a burgeoning misinformation age brought about by social media echo chambers.

Asness believes social media negatively distorts the market. He says "People don’t hear counter opinions; they hear their own… in markets that can result in really weird price action."

With that in mind, the other main piece of advice he gives is to have courage and confidence in your strategy. Asness says that "sticking to what you do when its hard to stick to it" is equally important as being the cleverest person in the room.

Having a great strategy is all well and good, but he warns that "you can turn any process no matter how good into a bad one if you abandon it at the wrong time."

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor
  • Do
    21 February 2023

    once you get to the top like Cliff then maybe you can be permitted a little self doubt - anywhere lower on the ladder it will be considered a lack of confidence or conviction and you will be tossed aside until the next know-it all soothsayer steps up.

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