Portfolio Manager – Verition Fund Management
Wenbin Zhang is a Portfolio Manager at Verition Fund Management where he manages systematic macro portfolios and equity statistical arbitrage portfolios.
What is your educational / professional background?
I focused on computer science from undergrad through my doctoral study. Even though I had a PhD degree, I was passionate about quant finance and hoped to learn more about the industry on both the sell side and buy side. I pursued the MSCF degree while working full time at a startup hedge fund and with the solid training I gained from MSCF, my career advanced to the next level. I became the research lead in a large trading group and later transitioned to my career as a quantitative portfolio manager.
How did you become interested in quant finance?
When I was in the PhD program, my research focused on applying machine learning techniques for building NLP and news sentiment engines to predict future events such as movie box office and stock market returns. It was fascinating to see how powerful the quant models were in bridging the gap between technology and the real finance world, which motivated me to explore opportunities in quant finance.
Describe your current role and your day-to-day responsibilities.
As a portfolio manager, I manage systematic macro portfolios and equity statistical arbitrage portfolios. On a daily basis, I follow significant market events, evaluate their impact on my portfolios, monitor portfolio risks and analyze strategy PnLs. Additionally, I spend a lot of time exploring new strategies for portfolio improvement and collaborating with my researchers and developers to enable the ideas. Finally, leading my talented team members and creating an environment where they can maximize their potential is a rewarding aspect of my role.
What are the top skills required for success in your role?
The top skills for quant hedge funds are quantitative skills and market intuition. Solid quantitative skills enable the ability to analyze data, test hypotheses, and implement trading strategies as quickly as possible. Good market intuition is critical for conducting efficient research and isolating the few ideas among many that need to be tested. Another key skill is creative thinking. Outperforming the market requires a continual stream of new ideas and ongoing refinement of those ideas.
How did the MSCF program prepare you for your career?
The program helped me build a solid foundation for the essential knowledge required for success in the quant finance industry. Additionally, the program gave me access to its amazing professional network which helped me land my previous job via a successful MSCF alumnus.
What advice would you give to someone considering the MSCF program?
The MSCF program is an unparalleled quant program. Students will have access to many invaluable resources such as a balanced curriculum, distinguished professors, and the outstanding alumni network. If your goal is to move into a front office role in top-tier banks, hedge funds, or trading firms, this is the right program for you. Since the program gives students so many possibilities, it’s important to assess your strengths, interests and goals. The MSCF program can help you with this and fast-track your quant finance career.
What is most fulfilling as a member of the MSCF Quant-in-Residence program?
As an MSCF student I received tremendous help via many program resources, especially the direct conversations with seasoned industry professionals. Now, I’m glad I have the chance to help the current students and give back to the MSCF community. There is fierce talent competition in the financial industry and students will be better prepared if they know the capabilities/skill sets top employers seek. I will be extremely proud if students can get inspired and advance in their future careers with my assistance.