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History of the Society of Quantitative Analysts

From the Computer Applications Committee
of the New York Society of Security Analysts
…to the Investment Technology Symposium,
…to Investment Technology Association,
…to the Society of Quantitative Analysts,
celebrating a half century of bringing together
theory, technology and practice.



The Society of Quantitative Analysts (SQA) has played an important role in the birth of quant finance as a gathering point in New York City for quantitatively orientated practitioners to exchange ideas.Over its history, its members and speakers have included pioneers in the theory and practice of quantitative finance.


The SQA began in the mid 1960’s as a committee of the New York Society of Securities Analysts (NYSSA) for those members excited about harnessing the newly available tool for analyzinginvestment data and testing financial theories: the electronic computer.  At that point in time, Modern Portfolio Theory had recently been developed, data had recently become available on magnetic tapes (egCompustat and CRSP) and early quants were beginning to have access to their firm’s mainframe computers or 3rd party computer time-sharing.  This committee met to discuss new financial theories and performance/risk management techniques and find ways to apply computers to test hypotheses or calculate risk metrics. 


In December 1965, the NYSSA newsletter announced:


"New Group Authorized: The Board of Directors (of the NYSSA) has authorized the formation of a new group under the Society auspices. This group, to be called the Study Group for the Application of Computers to Investment Research, will be of interest to those working on the application of computers to investment analysis or portfolio management."


The group, which came to be called the Computer Applications Committee of the NYSSA, originally met at the first NYSSA headquarters at 15 Williams Street in downtown Manhattan.  Monthly luncheon meetings were also held members’ firms.


In the late 1970’s, the group separated itself from the NYSSA and altered its name.  Over time, it became known as the Computer Application Symposium, then the Investment Technology Symposium.  Later the Investment Technology Association and then its current name: the Society of Quantitative Analysts.



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