Demystifying Quantitative Analysis: Real Stories Behind Quants and the Quantitative Models that Power Our Lives

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Industry Leadership Series

5:00 - 7:00 pm  •  Wells Fargo Learning Center, 333 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Mystique and misperception surround what financial industry quantitative researchers (“quants”) do. For example, post financial crisis, quants who were involved in building quantitative models for structured products such as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)  were blamed for contributing to the crisis. Most recently, quants who work for hedge funds in algorithmic trading are being portrayed as the new ruling class on Wall Street.

Dr. Jing Zhang, global head of Moody’s Analytics Research and Modeling Group, will share stories that shed light on the role quants play in our day-to-day lives. Taking a first-principles based approach, Dr. Zhang will discuss what finance is really about and how it plays a central role in our lives.

Using three real life cases, both historical and contemporary, Dr. Zhang will reveal areas of our lives that few of us truly know the real stories behind. These narratives will illustrate the nature of the quant’s job and the positive contributions that quants and quantitative models can make, and have made, to finance and society at large.

Dr. Zhang will also comment on the implications of recent developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence for finance.


Jing ZhangJing Zhang is a managing director and the global head of Moody’s Analytics Research and Modeling Group. Rooted in the pioneering efforts of B&H and Moody’s KMV, the group is responsible for the quantitative modeling behind the EDF and LGD models for both public and private firms, commercial real estate, and portfolio and balance sheet analytics for banks and insurance firms. Jing joined the research team at the former KMV (a wholly owned subsidiary and a provider of financial software, credit training, and credit risk assessment models), in 1998, eventually becoming a DIRECTOR in the Research Group. In that role, besides managing day-to-day research operations, he made major contributions to a number of KMV quantitative models. Since then, Jing has held a number of additional senior roles at Moody’s KMV in Product Management and the Client Solutions Group, and he has many years of experience advising clients on risk management issues. Jing obtained his PhD from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his MA from Tulane University. He was a lecturer for the Master of Financial Engineering program at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2010 to 2012. He is also the editor of risk book CCAR and Beyond (2014) and The New Impairment Model Under IFRS 9 and CECL (forthcoming).

Jing was born and raised in mainland China. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters and practices yoga.


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