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Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street - A Documentary about algorythmic trading

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Text Comments (148)
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Felipee Rincon (1 year ago)
28:35. True. If that was the case people modelling the market would always have positive returns.
Felipee Rincon (1 year ago)
how on earth an arts or management major with basic math understands what quants say?
IIAlbertII (1 year ago)
what if they use this in poker or blackjack in casinos?
Christian Evans (1 year ago)
Great video! Nice to see an inside view of what the institutions are up to!
Fickle Fly (2 years ago)
this way of the world will pass like all the other ways of the world. wall street is fast becoming less and less relevant in the lives of the people. as the banks require their investments to be returned with interest, and the working people's wages haven't increased in 20 years, the economy will finally collapse.
bary plays (2 years ago)
great video
cwxzeng (2 years ago)
this documentary so shit. doesnt tell u anything about anything.
Aubrey (2 years ago)
No one cares about this guy with his oysters
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This was so interesting. Great video.
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lol the Dutch word for mortgage is similar to the Spanish word .
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Coras (2 years ago)
Is it worth being a quant? I mean, at entry level you'll make an alright salary, but you would still have the education bill and be living in a city where house prices are through the roof, leaving you with a stressful job and a comparatively average wealth. Can anyone give me their thoughts on this, am I missing something? I'm in grade 10, I don't have that much experience in sustaining myself in terms of finances, but I guess you could bear with it until you move up, also I hear that the bonuses are good...
Tarra Blane (2 years ago)
+Coras Ⓥ .
Tarra Blane (2 years ago)
+Coras Ⓥ .
Sanskrit (2 years ago)
+Nightcore Coras you tend to get pigenholed as a quant. End up doing the same thing for a long time. As far as living in New York yes your right the higher salaries are relatively less when living in NYC
Damani B (2 years ago)
+Nightcore Coras Lelouch is having trouble thinking of a strategy to get himself out of a tight situation. That's not the Lelouch I know...
jcezary (2 years ago)
We owe most of the technology at our daily disposal to modern theoretical and experimental physics. Cell phones, computers, satellite communication or a toaster. I understand, these people here are very wealthy. What is it that our society owes them, or did I miss something? Are they contributing ANYTHING to the growth of our civilization? Where is the product, the tangible goods? Sophisticated thievery. Mathematics is just a tool, anybody can use it. Comparing these thieves to physicists is deplorable.
Orson (8 months ago)
The reason why people don't become homeless when a hurricane hits a city is because of the financial system, like insurance.
tabletalk33 (1 year ago)
Yes, but they will be the first to tell you that the essence of economics/finance is not mathematical models or the laws of physics, but human action. They would instantly understand that in human action there are only variables, and no constants. You cannot write "laws" for a phenomenon which has no constants! What scares even them even more is the fact that the US government and Wall Street banks are operating AS IF they had just such "laws" governing banking and finance. The quants KNOW that such notions are completely erroneous and extremely dangerous. In Ludwig von Mises' 25 books, he absolutely refused to permit even charts and graphs in them (certainly no equations that I can recall). He had good reason for this, namely, that such items only confuse the issue by drawing the reader's attention away from the essence of economics: HUMAN ACTION. Human beings have choices and act upon them purposefully. All this has NOTHING to do with the laws derived from the evidence of the hard sciences.
Jojo Chen (2 years ago)
So you are saying chemistry, engineering, computer science, math, medicine have done nothing to develop our technology? Why not simply call it science and engineering?! There's more to this world than physics.
Will Peavy (2 years ago)
+jcezary Many quants have a PhD in Physics, and have worked in physics.
Rick Williams (3 years ago)
There is no secret or some great formula to making money in the markets. There is no boogie man or some other creature waiting to devour you and your money. Its very simple if you invest you should know how to invest by following the money and if you invest there is risk involved. Risk simply means if you don't know what you are doing you will lose money damn guys come on this isn't rocket science..
Rick Williams lol
Oldeuboi (3 years ago)
Andrii Mazur (3 years ago)
Hey, Authors! The Market makers make the price, the models don't predict anything with acceptable accuracy.
Patel Vidhu (3 years ago)
I do not believe mathematics can help to make money in stock market. I just use media news for trading.
Felipee Rincon (1 year ago)
Anyway, people with arts or management degrees don't even understand the quant mathematics because that was not part of their curriculum.
thunder_struck (2 years ago)
+Patel Vidhu Theres a thing called efficient market hypothesis that bares true when you read things in the media.
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Karma Chick (3 years ago)
+Kris Danielson You are joking I hope ...
Shahriyar Akhavan (3 years ago)
Adam Bernard (3 years ago)
Oh, I also quite enjoyed the Beethoven around the 43:00 mark.
Adam Bernard (3 years ago)
I'm not really a fan of how the narrator intones that his struggle getting through University is somehow unique and depraved. Honestly, if you are not following a similar kind of lifestyle while enrolled in University, that lifestyle being hard studying, long hours at the library, and limited indulgence, then why are you enrolled in University and spending your (or your parents') hard earned cash? If you are going to pursue a University education, then pursue it with 100% of your determination. In my opinion, this is something that is lost on so many University students in favour of amusement and recreation. If you want to do that (which is totally fine), then just get a job out of High School and don't try to half-fast your way through University.
Danilo Ferreira (2 years ago)
+Adam Maciejewski You said the right word my friend. Indulgence ! less of it and a lot of time time management ! not easy.
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
Banking is about people with to much giving it to those who have to little and want to start something , this is Redistribution of Wealth I guess right , what is this guy talking about ?
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
+diss_kuss_121  Conservative LiIbertarian . Mind if I ask but why consider it " fixed views" , Socialism doesn't work , it never has , never will , it is the ' illusive lie ", the " crack pipe " called Wefare and confiscated taxes while the " elites suck off of the middl class bourgeois ?    The USA is the only Capitalist nation in history and Marxists have been trying to " disprove " its merits for decades if not close to 150 years and their Utopian dreams have led to 200 million people dead in the20th century . Is there anything else to think about , it can not work , self interest drives anyone and the " unordained " government Bueaucrat knows it
Karma Chick (3 years ago)
+sab287Leporidae I try to avoid fixed views. How about yourself?
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
+diss_kuss_121  I must ask are you a Socialist ?
Karma Chick (3 years ago)
+sab287Leporidae Seems you missed the point he made: role of banking has changed to maximise profits regardless of its effect on economy or society.
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
Old Soviet mathmatical manuals ? the Soviet economy was in many cases as a Socialist Communist planned economy , the use of mathmatics was used profusely , sound familiar , sound like the " fix was in " , the fix to cause a massive collapse and one that would in the end " discredit " free market economics and such and relive the 1929 crash and again tell people " see the Capitalists can not be trusted , that is why you need goverment , ty Socialism !!!!!!! ha ah ha ha !
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
+silverfox2358  very true but the fact is that the words of Marx, the Lecture at Gotha , also known as the " Gotha Program "  explicitly outlines that " the world will go from Capitalism ( the world has never  been  anything butCommerce sponsored by Government with the exception of the USA as a Capitalist  Country ) to Socialism and then to FULL BLOWN COMMUNISM !   Democratic Socialism as we see in Europe , our Norther Cousin " the Canadas " and Australia as nothing more than Marxists ! There is no difference ,Facism does have the Nationalist Component but this is all , it is purely SOCIALISM !   I would be happy to discuss how the MEANS OF PRODUCTION  aspect of the" different Socialisms "are ALL THE SAME IN THE END !     Government Control is ? SOUGHT " and  " ACHEIVED" no matter what flavor of Socialism you look at , directly , indirectly or de facto !!
The silver fox (3 years ago)
+sab287Leporidae Communism is a retards game all it does is stimulate war and make the rich and powerful richer with a false flag economy poor people are made to think they have a better standard of living. The reality is like north korea, Hell on earth with no freedom or liberty. When you remove competitors in favour of monopolies and regulate no frauds then prop up failing industry you have socialism!
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
Well there  you go , he mentioned the Communist manifesto !
sab287Leporidae (3 years ago)
I'm curious , surely they make sense about the recklessness , the Democrats get a major blame here , aside from Republican compliciticy but somehow I get the feeling the participants of the video are Socialists at their heart !!!!!
TC IronBear (3 years ago)
That more than a little scary that so many quants are foriegn.  While I meet a lot of smart foriegn students while working on a masters I noted too things.  They tend to come from culture where submission to authority is much more engrained.  And that language barrier tends to make them stick strictly to the facts.  When you try to ask naunced questions they will stick to facts leave you to draw the conculsions.  A quant needs to act like an advisor, not an employee.  If an advisor is even a little too submissive he is worthless.  Leaders look to advisors to provide them that resistance to making a bad decision.  If an advisor can not detect that you are failing to understand and where you misunderstanding, he is worthless.  An advisor that can not teach you the correct understanding is worthless.
Tarra Blane (2 years ago)
+TC Coltharp .
Tarra Blane (2 years ago)
+TC Coltharp .
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TC IronBear (2 years ago)
+Sejdr A. yes B. no C. I think the point of video is that they think they are just math-heads, and the people in finance are letting this slide since they don't understand the math and don't respect them enough. D.  I work in finance E.  Authoritarian does not mean pushy. And submission to authority does not mean a system is authoritarian F.  Again the point of this video to me is they are being mis-used. G.  The language barriers and cultural barriers can lead to miscommunication and thus disaster in a financial system that increasingly dependant on quants.  The barriers are leading to islands of expertise in the financial system. H.  I was using foriegn to refer only to the foriegners in the video, mostly Asian. You ignoring the context. I.  I see nothing wrong with any foriegner doing anything.  What the video was trying to highlight as far as I can see, is not that foriegners are taking jobs from natives, but that the lack of natives involvement could lead to isolation between the decision makers and their advisors.  The fact you do not realize that quants are fundementally advisors to decision makers just proves my point.  If an advisor fails to recognize that he is an advisor the only thing that is worse is a decision maker who mistakes an advisor for a worker.  What makes this scary is that is an obvious break down in information flow to the people who pretty much control our financial system.  What could happen is the quants could avoid investigating their systems because they see themselves exculsively as beancounters and not analysts.  And even they are aware of potential problem in their system, because their advice is not sought or offered, the decision makers are oblivious to the problem. If the solution is for more Asians become the decision makers, more Westerns to become quants, or for the two to improve information flow does not matter to me.  This is an obvious potential communication break down.
Sejdr (2 years ago)
+TC Coltharp A. U gotta be an american! B. Ure christian too?! C. Quants arnet advisors, they are math-heads. D. You have no idea how the finance sector works regarding authority obviously. E. Americans in general (not the occupy wall-streeters) are some of the most authoritarian people on earth. F. U have no idea how the hiearchy is in high-preformance occupaions. THEY ARE employees, something else and they are sacked. G. how come it is scary they are foreign?! H. So, u conclude that all foreigners are alike....swedes, chinese, aussies, german, french, italians, senaglese, kongolese, syrians.... I. Last and not least, U must be terrified that the documentary u saw was made by foreigns...ooooohhh...scary stuff!
Alex K. (3 years ago)
19:00 he fails to adress that the people working at hedge funds, CEO and downwards, are also putting a substantial amount of their own money into the same funds or long/short positions to maximize personal profits.
charles keeton (3 years ago)
um..then you are annoyed w/yourself..see all is connected. meaning if you are consuming you are involved...
Scott Black Cycles (3 years ago)
10:26 - A fact often overlooked in documentaries - government pressure (via regulators) was applied to banks to relax their loan qualifications.
Christopher Matis (1 year ago)
Christopher Weir Whats up chrisi
Christopher Weir (2 years ago)
Yeah I did not realize that, but I looked into it and yep, it is bang on true.
kathleen smith (3 years ago)
This soft ware guy is annoying, because he condenms wall street and talks about real work and economy like his oyster business, but he lives off the interest he makes on wall street stocks.  He sucks.  It because of the likes of him that we have these problems, and the arguement if not him it would be someone else - this idea is the symptom of the disease of western culture.  All for self think of no one else.  We are all doomed, unless this changes - except it can't change until it all falls down.  
Mark (2 years ago)
+Xavier Lance He flat out says "I make money on interest." Are you mentally handicapped? Nice try starting another baseless argument on youtube.
Karma Chick (3 years ago)
+Xavier Lance maybe dividend interest paid on stocks he holds for his own retirement investment purposes?
charles keeton (3 years ago)
the point was made of him being 'annoying' when we all are here under the same premise..so does that not make us all annoying?...
Xavier Lance (3 years ago)
so how is the profit he made Interest money?
Scott Black Cycles (3 years ago)
Greed is not a 'disease', it is human nature. Find me a person who is not greedy and you will be limited to corpses. And greed is not limited to Western culture. Capitalism is, if nothing else, honest. 
Tudor Militaru (3 years ago)
 A bullshit show.
Jalreal (3 years ago)
Theoretical physicists belong in... well... physics. These blackboard junkies work everything out in their little models. Problem with models is that your assumptions have to be correct, and, as history has proven time and time again, they usually aren't.
Karma Chick (3 years ago)
+Jalreal Lack of money in physics research & development kills physicist jobs. Therefore physicists work in other jobs: software, finance, technology.
The silver fox (3 years ago)
+Jalreal They are no better than a martingale (suicide) betting strategy.
Elijah Blackburn (3 years ago)
There ya go. "at least" That's the key :)
Mi Lia (3 years ago)
Not everyone can be a successfull polymath. You either have it or you don't...Remember, you have only one life to be perfect at least at one thing.
Elijah Blackburn (3 years ago)
"Theoretical physicists belong in... well... physics." That's precisely the kind of thinking that stifles creativity and obstructs innovation. Why should people be limited to a single practice or skill set? Ideally, we should all strive to be polymaths.
Trees Flowers (3 years ago)
At 19:40 he says that you shouldn't profit from taking risk with other people's money and he uses hedge funds as an example.  Of course he fails to mention companies issuing stock to take risk and profit from other people's money, IRA and fund managers doing the same and even our own government taking risk with other people's money while making profits.  Tell me, will the Solyndra money be coming back anytime soon?  I know, it will show up when the green shoots arrive right?  Yet, it's always the evil hedge funds that people boo hoo about. Ha Ha   Nothing a dose of jealousy pills won't cure.  The fact is, most people talking about the markets and trading have no understanding of that which they speak and even more importantly have no understanding of the unintended consequences of actions. There is a gap larger than Valles Marineris that divides theory and reality.  Especially when it comes to cause and effect.
Chillbean Gene (4 years ago)
a documentary about a lot of good stuff including not going into debt provided by a website to go into debt... weird.
Jabulani Phakathi (4 years ago)
35:30 ........We americans are the minority. That's a culture in decline.
Alex (4 years ago)
Thanks for sharing, greatly enjoyed the documentary.
nafal (4 years ago)
Jack: This video is misleading people and probably will make you lose a fortune. Read my entire comment and benefit of what I offer you
DC Tomcat (4 years ago)
Very informative. Love it when highly educated and intelligent people explain things in plain English so that absolutely everyone can relate to it and at some point have the "A-HA" moment when understood. Remarkable!
MrNathan791 (4 years ago)
Everybody don't think like that. Money only magnifies who you really are. If you're a cheat and a jerk with no money then when you get wealth you're a cheat and a jerk with money. It's amazing how no one looks at the heart of the person with money. So of us are raised to have integrity and strong morals. Of course so many on wall street don't.
jo atjo (4 years ago)
there's so much you can do with numbers until you start going crazy. 
Tomek Samcik (4 years ago)
The whole financial industry is based on this business model where they detach risk and reward from responsibility. It's volatility-driven wealth transfer from the real economy to the financial sector. There's a good reason why this huge technological advancement that took plece over the past 20 years had no reflection in significant quality of life increase for the average middle class non-banker.
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Alex Y (4 years ago)
this is fascinating.
Ignore Alien Orders (4 years ago)
very enlightening. These quants give me some hope - they can clearly see the problem with what's going on. I think it's just another case of "we are led by the least among us".
cmares5858 (4 years ago)
32:18 ... So great and true. These economists have created these huge structures of equations and theory based on flawed foundation. It wouldn't be so bad but the leaders of the world follow these economists like gospel... Think Keynes and Paul Krugman. 
Trees Flowers (3 years ago)
+luvs2splooj1 And if you knew anything about Keynes you would also know he told everyone it was safe to go back into the market in 1930 and he ended up losing 3/4 of his wealth.  As did Irving Fisher except he lost everything including his house.  Economists are like psychologists, 10 different ones have 10 different "theories".  In the end, they are theories.  Nothing more nothing less. 
luvs2splooj1 (4 years ago)
And if you knew anything about Keynes you would also know that he criticized the ergodic (mathematically predictable) nature of the future which economics was based on during his time. The reason he stuck to the flawed marginal theory was so mainstream economists would take him seriously. If he tried to break the mold too much he would have been ignored.
luvs2splooj1 (4 years ago)
Clueless. All these "structures of equations and theory" fueled deregulation of financial products. If you knew the first thing about Krugman you would know thats exactly the opposite of what he proposed. 
eccolaprimavera (4 years ago)
jf 713 jf (4 years ago)
Could you please post the names and occupations of each of the mathematicians in this video in the description? It would really help those of us trying to do research quickly! Thanks for a great video!
cesdesarchs (4 years ago)
Paul Wilmott who is often being described as the smartest quant in the world, Mike Osinski, a former Wall Street computer programmer whose fancy software helped to bring the banks to near collapse, and Emanuel Derman, a former managing director and head of the Quantitative Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs & Co – appear to feel sorry indeed about the misuses of their skills. more info at http://blog.logicoffinance.com/2013/03/quants-alchemists-of-wall-street.html
Samir EL ZEIN (4 years ago)
a free web app made by a smart Quant "DSS daily stock select"
eccolaprimavera (4 years ago)
On a completely unrelated issue: Can someone tell me what the piece of music is at 44.25? Thanks!
gru2k (4 years ago)
beethoven symphony 7
Raymond Cajigal (4 years ago)
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TheHedge (4 years ago)
I got the impression that Taleb was pointing out that because the risk appears is so low when hedged, people and firms use leverage to take advantage of the high probability of success. That is why a tail event of .1% probability will wipe out most large investors. Because they use extreme leverage.
Karl Logan (4 years ago)
Extreme outliers are hedged against by more sophisticated firms using techniques that have been created by people like Taleb. Anyways it doesn't really matter because even basic quant analysis will prevent against 99.9% of risk. People like Taleb exaggerate the presence of outliers. Historical data analysed properly can predict the future.
Bret Thompson (4 years ago)
Like the Alien music in here
ozpowermo (5 years ago)
There are plenty of prop trading firms that utilize predictive models and they're doing quite well, so I don't know how we can debate stats unless you have data to show otherwise. I can enumerate dozens of prop trading firms that have been doing exactly that for a REALLY long time.
Dominik Mueller (5 years ago)
That's not the full story. While quantitative analysts attempt to formulate predictive models and those models may look good on paper, the problem lies in the data available. They are, obviously, *past* data. Hence, when something (extreme) happens that has not been observed in the existing data, the "predictive" model will generally not work.
ozpowermo (5 years ago)
My view is that the people who made this documentary STILL don't understand Quants, consequently their presentation is very misleading. Quants make predictive models, the reason why they're called predictive is because they can predict the outcome (usually the price) of a given financial instrument with a degree of certainty. Quants use the models which have a high degree of certainty in order to make money.
M A (1 year ago)
Why are you referring to the makers of the documentary, who are clueless about the subject anyway, instead of one of the experts who've actually given their two cents?
pacstar514 (5 years ago)
And what is your take on what's happening?
s404n1tn0cc (5 years ago)
Mike Osinski was wrong. One accounting flaw was not made cannot trade Derivatives it misses the cost of money of origination of a Derivative. Failed to attach percentage to the origination process. Example A 250 K loan with a charge of 3 percent is 7500. 7.5 k div by 250K is .03. So one may have 1 dollar for every 33.33 dollar loaned.

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