Last month, Denis Dancanet joined our Firm as the new President of Cubist, our systematic investing business. Now that he's settled in, we took the opportunity to ask him about his path to Point72, and what's next for quant investing.
Denis, welcome! How is it going so far?
I’m super excited to be here. It’s a little strange not being able to see people in person, so it’s been a lot of video calls, but I’m getting to know people around the Firm. I’ve been very impressed by everyone I’ve talked to so far, and I can’t wait to start meeting people face-to-face.
What attracted you to Point72 and Cubist?
I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to lead one of the top quant hedge funds of the world. Cubist is a great business, and on a good track, so I saw the chance to come in and strengthen what was already working and help build for the future. I’m looking forward to providing even more support to portfolio teams, enhancing our data sets, and growing the business with new talent.
I think my background is ideally suited for this because I have been a researcher, and I have built trading businesses, and I have led organizations. So all these pieces together really prepared me for this role.
What did you do before coming to Point72?
I went to the University of Pennsylvania and triple-majored in computer science, mathematics, and philosophy. I also got my PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
I joined Wall Street at Morgan Stanley, eventually joining Process Driven Trading (PDT) which was then a proprietary trading group within Morgan Stanley. I started as a researcher in statistical arbitrage, then went to the London office to build out the team there, and eventually I started a new trading group to trade futures. I was one of the original partners who founded PDT when it spun out from Morgan Stanley. It was a real opportunity to build the business, maintain the culture, and recruit talent. I spent 17 years in total there.
After I left, I joined the startup world—I made an angel investment in Theorem, a startup quant hedge fund, and I also co-founded Jetoptera, an aviation startup.
Where do you see the quantitative investing business going?
I spent my entire career in finance in quant investing—so to say I’m a believer in quantitative investing would be an understatement. I think it’s become clear that quant is not just here to stay, but it’s taken over a larger and larger slice of the investing dollars. And I think the investment that Point72 is making in this business is going to continue to pay off.