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I have interacted with many people in the quant space, and many of them had to quit every single aspect of their online presence when they were hired in this position.

Note I use the term "quant" but mean it in a broader sense: really anyone working for a bank / hedge fund / trading firm / whatever in a technical job; not necessarily someone doing quantitative analysis (e.g., someone who works as a programmer for a hedge fund).

What does the process look like for determining whether or not you get to participate on this very site for the pro quants here? As well as other sites in general where this information is shared.

  • Were you asked when interviewing for your current position about activity on (maybe this site specifically?) or various other mediums where this is information about this topic is shared (Quora comes to mind as another example). If not during the interview process, when did it come up?
  • If so, how was it dealt with? The fact that this question exists on this site forces me to only receive answers from people who were given the OK, so it is limited a bit in that sense, but I am still curious about it nonetheless.
  • Is your activity monitored? Were you given certain topics that you were told you cannot discuss on the site? Were you told to simply use "good judgement" and not share something stupid?

  • For those who have worked at various other financial firms: how does the strictness vary by firm size? Is there any noticeable difference from say a place such as Morgan Stanley and a tiny proprietary trading firm? Do smaller firms tend to be more strict? I have come to this somewhat loosely by taking note of the fact that there are several people I can think of off the top of my head that are active on the StackExchange site network despite holding a "sensitive" position, such as Brian Bi of StackOverflow; who is a low latency engineer at Citadel.

  • Is there any negotiating with this? Or are the rules at these financial firms very strict, leaving no room in either direction?

The question is broad and doesn't exactly fit how most questions go on this site, however I believe it is completely on topic and while it is broad, I am sure we will find something that seems to be somewhat standard. I appreciate any of the quants here sharing their experience with this.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not an answer to the question obviously but might be of interest. in the UK, Competition Law legally prohibits the discussion of proprietary pricing information in various contexts. All traders / quants etc privy to a firm's pricing models are subject to this. At firms I've worked for, periodic training was given on this but further to that no prohibition on specific site participation, although the landscape (and paranoia) is obviously forever changing. So there are 2 governing principles, confidentiality in your contract, and not sharing pricing information that could violate.. $\endgroup$ – Mehness Nov 5 '18 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ ...Competition Law. It's perfectly possible to participate in discussions about your favourite square root stochastic process / textbook on LMM calibration without violating either principle, but obviously diff firms take diff views.... $\endgroup$ – Mehness Nov 5 '18 at 11:47

Banks and employees typically operate with a view slightly different from what society generally accepts as normal levels in terms of risk/reward.

From an employee's perspective one might consider the risks;

  • My bank does not allow, or appreciate pricing discussion on public sites.
  • I don't know the rules of my bank but a prudent course is to assume the above.

And the rewards;

  • I get some good feedback and enjoyment from helping and sharing ideas.

The latter can typically be gained by working with colleagues, and the risks are so obvious that overall engagement with site is not a good trade.

For the employers perspective the risks are:

  • Employees unknowingly or knowingly concede proprietary information
  • On the other hand a total ban might be viewed as an impingement on the freedom on employees, which is very unlikely and so minor the employer will ignore.

The rewards of an employee being permitted to engage in the site are:

  • practically none.

So unfortunately the conclusion is rather obvious. Employers probably totally or partially ban, and employees are afraid to engage in fear of misjudging their level.

I do not believe there is a solution, at least none that will ever be implemented.

  • $\begingroup$ So this site is for students and academics, and former quants $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Dec 12 '18 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ @BjørnKjos-Hanssen this site is for everyone, I do not presume to say who the site is for, I have simply laid out an argument why, in my opinion, more active quants from investment banks and asset management companies will not participate here, so that does rather mean the pool reduces to your observation, unfortunately. $\endgroup$ – Attack68 Dec 12 '18 at 9:38

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