Quants | The Alchemists of Wall Street | VPRO documentary

Birt 4 mar 2010
Quants are the math wizards and computer programmers in the engine room of our global financial system who designed the financial products that almost crashed Wall street. The credit crunch has shown how the global financial system has become increasingly dependent on mathematical models trying to quantify human (economic) behaviour. Now the quants are at the heart of yet another technological revolution in finance: trading at the speed of light.
What are the risks of treating the economy and its markets as a complex machine? Will we be able to keep control of this model-based financial system, or have we created a monster? A story about greed, fear and randomness from the insides of Wall Street.
Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2010.
© VPRO Backlight February 2010
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Director: Marije Meerman
Research: Gerko Wessel
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.


  • NEWS NEWS NEWS! We have a vpro documentary, Telegram channel! Check it out for new uploads, spread the word and join! 😉 t.me/vpro_documentary

    • I like to learn new things..I love you vpro

    • vpro documentary can you make another quant documentary?

  • The fraud goes deep then you think, banks loan nothing charge interest on nothing, create a promissory note and make as many copies as they can and sell them to investors and then cash the original note in for value at the FR window, force you to take out and pay mortgage insurance so "bank" gets paid again if you default, force you to put up the home for collateral so they can steal real property, While receiving a government bail out for all the fraud loans! They put us in a system of bankruptcy so they can enslaves all the people steal all the natural resources and use them to create wars and plunder sovereign nations that do not consent to the banking cabal. The Central banking system was a fraud from the beginning created for the gangsters in banking and not for the people. They actually monetized all the people as if they owned them as chattel and created trust accounts behind all of their backs as accounts so they could draw fiction funds from. Why do you think the courts always want to charge you? Because they have the authority to open your account with your identity! It all starts with your NAME in all caps as the account.


  • A fisherman or a construction worker can make 30k or 50k a year; a HFT or a hedge fund can make 30 millions a day - that just does not make any sense; we live in a sick society, ruled by the creators of money

  • Wall Street shouldn't exist in a normal society

  • This is wayyyy above my brain wave even my postcode

  • This was 10yrs ago. My gosh.. Time had certainly slowed down 🤦‍♀️

  • 2020 same same just bigger


  • 3:23 That is wrong. It may be a hundred. If one goes to a branch of a supermarket chain, takes the products and checks-out, they will certainly not offer any discount (or make an effort to ask a manger) - they would rather ask in a friendly manner why I would like to buy that amount. It does not usually work with online shopping either, if one just adds products to the cart and concludes it then, it will be multiplied ciphers or numbers.

  • Are the computers in these places protected from EMP's? Somebody with a "Pinch" as described on the movie Oceans Eleven could knock out the trading or disrupt it just enough to cause extreme inaccuracies. Are their computers enclosed in what's called a Faraday Cage that block EMF, and EMP's, and grounds the energy?

  • I'm sure 'Einstein' knew exactly what he was getting into when he saw the dollar signs. Like the bad christian who repents on their death bed.

  • I used to tease my economics friends at uni for their endless straight line graphs haha.

  • thanx again vpro

  • Bitcoin is the answer

  • "He's my quant"


  • yep, we have had at least ten years to prepare.

  • Did these models have a drop down button in order to account for a epidemic, pandemic or plandemic???

  • yaa math can predict most of think.... behavior allso........ superb Reality.... border Thinks

  • The only reason why I can understand this is because I watched “The Big Short” and “Margin Call” multiple times. 🧐

  • may 2021

  • Thx for the information u gonna be the fall guys

  • Brilliant

  • Joel Tillinghast, fund manager at Fidelity, says the problem with quants can be too much abstraction. They get so caught up in the math they forget they're dealing with shares of a company and not just abstract numbers.

  • I like how they defend the models, and bash the reality of the crashes. Oh no, the models were good, it's just the behavior of real people is "illogical." Well no shit; humor is illogical, I guess that's why they don't see the irony. Quants provided documentation to allow financial products that polluted the market they were modeling. The people that allowed these financial products are gullible and greedy, something illogical if you value the stability and long term growth of the economic system they regulate.

  • ..."and then Clinton and Bush jr. forced the banks to lend subprime mortgages," wow. That's all I needed to hear.

  • None of these models have any chance beyond being nearly a yardstick to measure with.

  • Who’s here for the oysters??

  • I can’t believe a decade ago was 2010

  • I am amazed..

  • 14:28 When you realize you too, are a dummass.

  • I feel working from home is key to wealth creation, considering how remunerative investing on the online market can be. I begin to wonder what if I got into it much earlier on..

  • First time I watched these I dozed off before the 15th minute, now I'm amazed at what I was missing. Thanks YT algo.

  • At 15 minutes the math be wrote is not an actual equation that tanked the economy its a single equation. Its not even a real one

  • Prophetic, Pathetic.

  • The answer once again, drum role please . . . . . .. . . . . . ISLAM. and Islamic financial principles.

    • yup, simple trades and Gold and Silver is all we need, not money game

  • That was well done

  • .

    • 38:58

    • 23:50

    • 22:13

    • 18:24

    • 12:29

  • Check Cyrus Parsa

  • All Scotch used to be made by Private Small Distilleries but not today under Queen Elizabeth . privatisation. Faulty Capitalism eve the Medicines and Anti-Biotics are made to kill. Is this Generation the Biggest Victims??? Allan.

  • Goggle has a 3second delay in the Indian Stock Markets Why??Why??Why??. Allan.

  • Goggle has a 3second delay in the Indian Stock Markets Why??Why??Why??. Allan.

  • The Stock market ( as it stands) is a ponzi scheme propped up by consumer cash. The market will "correct" when the next generation(my parent generation) get ready to start cashing in their retirement( three months ago). That money has already been spent on Manhattan Rent, Cab Rides ( they capitalize Uber, so I started capitalizing Cab Rides), booze and five star food.

  • how the hell does it randomly go from English to German lol

  • 18:23-19:35 Most important point in this video. It's Wall St. in a nutshell, especially private equity and hedge funds that benefit from the carried interest loophole.

    • Except it's not. The difference between ordinary investment funds and hedge funds is that hedge funds also use their own money to invest. They make an investment and at the same time they invest in something on the other side of the "hedge".

  • do you think you guys, great as you are, can spend sometime "solving difficult problems" 6:05 and come over and help the rest of the world with this cervasa sickness/deception instead of assisting and helping those who couldn't care less.

  • could hear Emanual was from South Africa right away...


  • 28:15 He was trying really hard not to say that the market is already manipulated and controlled by institutions, and cant be quantified for that reason...

  • 18:25 The funny thing is, investment bank will still take a cut, even if your stocks have blown up! They have fixed annual fees, even if there is great loss & they lost your money.

  • From the ridiculous to the sublime, Bitcoin is plan B. Constrained to the real world. Thank you Plan B!

  • Thanks for the brilliantly well thought out video.

  • man it's a good think none of these economic majors talked about externalities, how else would their models work? read " j as in junk economics " my friends

  • Id be interested to learn what these guys think about one solution to the problems they laid out. I can not help but think about cryptocurrency (which was just fledgling tech when this was filmed). Where my BTC boys at?

  • 1. Are quants anymore successful than technical (chart) analysis experts at anticipating stock market moves? 2. Are quants relevant is the post-Covid 19 market where the federal reserve is unpredictably buying etfs?

  • if every one was to send 25 cents to a fund we the people to stand against the evils of this world we could legally take them down with no problems that 25 cents would equals eighty-one million nine hundred thousand and if that weren't enough we do it again drain the evils from there riches .50 cents equals one hundred sixty-three million eight hundred thousand .75 cents would equal two hundred forty-five million seven hundred thousand and for just one dolor it would equal a force to be reckon with a trust fund to fight injustice three hundred twenty-seven million six hundred thousand over six hundred million for just two bucks from every one in the usa . lmao it would take so little if we would only come together stand united in god we do trust but what do i know , just a dreamer trying to live in a better world as it should be and or refuse to go back to work when they want us to go back and demand better wage better jobs demand the ride of corruption in all of our country's government we the people of this world in every country needs to stand untied and be the force to be reckon with honesty we are the power we the ones that built this world we have let other control what is becoming wrong in our every day lives we do not have to tear down city's or fight all we have to do is get a fund going in a way of a trust account for the cause or and do not go back to work when they want us to just to benefit there agenda of there needs of power control and slavery yet to come . wake up world not just the usa but we the people of the world we need to stand to gather now .

  • 10:00 this guy's explaining what actually caused the crash. Politicians (including senators Dodd & Frank) requiring Fannie & Freddie to buy subprime mortgages and not prime mortgages to "help" poor people borrow loads of money to buy houses. Greed was certainly not just for the few bankers making big bucks

  • Interesting interviews, but the stupid creepy music and colour filtering suggests the documentary makers don't have a clue what they're saying

  • Who else wants to be a quant?

  • It is funny. This was posted the 4th of mars 2010. At 39:35 he says the next crash might be in minutes. 2 months later on May 2010 the crash comes in minutes :D

  • 15:20 "The risk is...whatever." Exactly. Ain't his risk. Well it is now buddy. Don't let me catch you on the street pal.

  • The sound track is very distracting and unnecessary.

  • He says I make about 100k off oysters, pocket change LOL

  • Notice none of the guys were doing bad financially. In fact living quite comfortably. They whistleblow but only after they exited stage right and were also complicit their entire career? Sounds like the bank accounts drying up.

  • 35:40 best line ever!

  • 36:00 All the money makers

  • The model throws out a "guess" based on inputs.

  • The algorithm is the secret sauce, not software weenies.

  • Is Wall Street now using programs with AI?

  • At 19:12 , now I understand.

  • the anonymous narrator & the suspense-thriller music... loss of credibility

    • How. You must be one of them aren't you?

    • Alejandro Saavedra so make your own damn video

  • GOO gEL et,.,.!.!.,?,..,.?.

  • On this April Fools Day it warms my heart to know Jerome Powell as such Alchemy to protect us all from financial risk.

  • Bitcoin to the moon...

  • @31:28 describing what's happening now.

  • Background music makes me feel like I am watching a horror film.

    • ischats.info/fun/aLKbp3xlf4KVfYA/v-deo 👆That is the beginning of all this. You *are* living in a horror film, sorry to wake you up.

    • You are

  • Volume of a sphere = ⁴⁄₃ π r³ a simple analytical solution. My first monthly meeting at the Met Office, after being told I was going to be a programmer and being handed a red spiral bound English Electric KDF9 Usercode manual, I was asked by Andrew Gilchrist to write a program to find the maxima and minima of a surface. To check my results I used a surface that could be represented by an equation. The next month I showed the results of my KDF9 program. Dour Scot Andrew said "you could have solved that analytically"?

  • I think I hear Sal Khan's voice in this video...

  • anyone watching this in March 2020? This documentary might as well have been made 2 weeks ago.

  • 36:52 Most of the students are eastern europeans and asians -- maths is their first language and we are the minority .

    • Dude, the chinese literally pray to God of money, even those who don't pray to any other God. lol It's not just about ability, it's about culture as well.

  • 9.51 that guys is bastard. People like him caused the 2008 crisis.

  • So...computers "overreacted" from reading the headlines and caused the "flash crash"? So, you can crash any stock by circulating a rumor and ONLY fooling the computers. Do they even recognize sarcasm?

  • Didn't hear any "math wizards" at the beginning of this month (March 2020) before the crash. Even I knew things were overpriced.

  • So... they were paid to try to make a regular "shell game" sound too complicated to understand (so the buyers could say they "didn't know the real risk" when they bought something that they didn't research).

  • 28:59? Financial behavior history has repeated itself in capitalist societies for a very long time. My algorithm shows greed to be a constant.

  • who is proud in any corporate job today..... all corrupt - most greed just like our lawyers and politicians...respect is never warranted. American's must change what they value.

    • Enough, round them up, tell them they are going to commit suicide and transfer their money back to the people. They don't use their feeling and conscience when alive and kicking, why would they start doing that anytime soon? They have no right to cry. (ofc this will never happen, too good to be true, we commoners are not cold blooded lizards like them eugh)

    • Yes

  • thats bad , I wish Hft didnt exist.

  • Just to use pure mathematical models in a system that is constantly being manipulated by the humans involved in that system sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. In my view you got to take market history in to account in your models as well to account for the human factor + probably some margin of error as well.

  • these guys have no one over them, so whatever they make up is the rule. must feel pretty powerful, although its just convoluted conjecture.

  • ischats.info/fun/qK2KqZSIfYCgZog/v-deo the anunnaki will dominate mankind by using frequencies control brainwaves

    • That's the wrong part of the conspiracy realm. You are being blinded by false informations given by elite agents. Be careful they are still trying to mislead you even if you are already in the right place.

  • Theft is theft.

  • I think there's only a handful of people in the world that truly understand how some of these derivatives work

  • I knew a person who had quints. Oh that's quant's? Never mind.

  • I have no degree in Quants.. But, I could easily see the crash coming 4 years, before it hit.. I'm just a working class joe.. 😆😆😆😆

  • The comment at 31:28 about the expectation for growth and the government stepping in lowering interest rates with financial "oscillations" getting bigger and bigger is starting to sound very prophetic right about now. What happens when we can't make interest rates any lower?...

  • who is the British guy and what is the book he is reading from?

  • It's pathetic we can't have a REAL economy is the US.....Like they do in China

    • Honestly Antartica have the best economy. All others are equally shit.

  • @bitco_novosti - анализ @bitconovosti - трейдинг @bitcoinval - майнинг ................................................ vk.com/kripto_mirbtc vk.com/gram_durov_ton t.me/Durov_TON_GRAM t.me/trader_Iosa

  • Too Big Toc Fail the book explains the CDOs very well. CDOs were a financial product of loans repackaged Rated C loans and repackaged as Rated A because they were were selling the rich crap. because they thought they'd interest. Beware 'financial products.'i remember Bush used the word 'financial product'. it makes me shutter. financial product is money product. yeah it's bizarre. i used to work as an English teacher in Japan. i used to work with a Elderly Japanese guy who was working his first year as a teacher. He used to work for a trading company that went bankrupt due to Lehman Brothers shock. 'when America Sneezes, Japan catches a cold.' Japan even had a 契約村、keiyaku mura, contract village. it was a whole bunch of people who had contract jobs that expired. So they didn't have jobs or a place to live. that was the year i graduated Kaplan Online University with a BSIT in Software Development. Kaplan Online University didn't have an AI major nor an AI related classes in 2008 when i went to Recruit Agent an Employment agency. My Japanese skill was JLPT Level 2. But without experience, no job. And level 2 JLPT wasn't enough. so crawled back to my old job. And then my MELAS syndrome onset with a 4 day stroke like episode and double diabetes. it has nothing to with eating sugar. it's MELAS syndrome related. So basically, life gave me sh*++y hand to play in life but met a wonderful woman who wants to take of me. She's awesome.