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Money mathematics : examining ethics education in quantitative finance
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Jason West
The field of quantitative analysis is often mistaken to be a discipline free from ethical burdens. The quantitative financial analyst or “quant” profession holds a position of significant responsibility as the keeper of mathematical models used in complex derivative security pricing and risk management. Despite this responsibility very few postgraduate programs address the teaching of ethics and professional standards in their curriculum, and the credibility of the profession has suffered as a result of several high-profile financial losses. Some of these failures could have been avoided and their impacts diminished if ethical considerations were integrated with quantitative method. Appropriate development in ethics education for quants is needed to identify points in the decision-making process where ethical questions can arise, and to explain how quants can protect stakeholders from the costs of unethical behaviour. An approach to ethics education needs to be flexible and allow for different methods to infuse ethical coverage into the course. Such an approach will go some way towards aligning the profession with other specialisations in banking and avoid the need for complex and unnecessary regulation.