Something is afoot at Morgan Stanley in Paris. Last year, it hired 50 people to its office at rue de Monceau in the 8th arrondissement. This year, it plans to hire another 50. Next year, it plans to hire 50 again. By the end of 2023, Morgan Stanley plans to have 300 people in Paris, versus the 200 it has there currently.
Many of those new hires will be quants. - Morgan Stanley wants to build out a 'centre mondial de recherche appliquée pour les activités de marché', or a global research centre for its markets business in English, and Paris is its chosen location. It's not difficult to see why.
French quants are famously among the best in the industry and top French quant schools are incredibly difficult to get into. French former hedge fund partner Dominique Mielle says there are around 10,000 applications for every 200 acceptances.
France's top quant schools are well known. University Paris Dauphine is typically towards the top of the list and it already feeds quant talent into Morgan Stanley. - Jacques-Olivier Moussafir, who has a mathematics PhD from Dauphine, joined as a quant trader in Paris in October 2020. Arnold Fadikpe, another Dauphine graduate, arrived in November 2021 and is a Hungary-based equity derivatives strategist.
One of the other top schools for quant talent is École Polytechnique, the Paris-based school that produced Hamza Lemssouguer, the 30-year-old credit trading prodigy who left Credit Suisse last year. Lemssouguer studied maths and statistics at École Polytechnique and now runs his own hedge fund, so won't be joining Morgan Stanley any time soon, but the U.S. bank is likely to lean heavily on other Polytechnique alumni. - It already hired Sami Zayani, a quant researcher, and Polytechnique mathematics graduate in 2014. Morgan Stanley also already employs quantitative graduates from ENSAE, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nancy.
Morgan Stanley won't be the only one chasing French quants this year. Hedge funds Citadel, Millennium and ExodusPoint are also hiring in Paris. French quants have long complained about their pay. 2022 could be the year in which this gets bid up considerably.
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