If you play in the market, you run the risk that it may move against you. This risk is, of course, market risk and we have a Middle Office team to manage it. Market Risk Management (MRM) ensures that the risk limits on the volumes and types of products traded are set in accordance with the risk appetite prescribed by the senior management. It also ensures, through regular processing and monitoring, that these limits are adhered to.
What is monitored are risk measures such as the Greeks and Value at Risk (VaR). The Greeks are the first and second order derivatives of the price of a security with respect to various market variables such as the price of the underlying, interest rates, volatility as well as trade specific entities like the time to maturity. The VaR is a statistical end point measure estimating the amount of loss at a given confidence level in the case of an adverse market movements, and is typically computed using the historical market movements over the past year or so. These risk measures are aggregated, sliced and diced in various ways to make it easy to monitor them, and reported to senior management, risk control committees, trading desks etc. The MRM team is also responsible for reporting to regulatory agencies, both in the form of regular compliance reports as well as ad hoc reports in response to drastic market moves.
Quants can find opportunities in the Analytics team embedded within MRM. This team is in charge of pricing model validation, which is the process of ensuring that the mathematical models deployed in trading systems and other valuations engines are both appropriate and correctly implemented. There is a significant overlap between the work that MRM analytics quants do and their Front Office counter parts (whom we called pricing or model quants). The Analytics team also takes care of any other quantitative tools needed in MRM or risk management in general. Such tools could include potential future exposures (PFE) for credit risk management, liquidity modelling for Assets and Liability (AML) etc.