It is and it isn’t

I couldn’t resist this rather trivial blog, just a comment really on happenings at a recent quantie dinner. In attendance, going clockwise around the table at Union Square Cafe, PW, Bruno Dupire, Salih Neftci, Peter Carr, Jim Gatheral and Emanuel Derman.

Discussing the validity of all this Black-Scholes stuff that has got so much bad press recently, JG says “I have a nice apartment in **** thanks to Black-Scholes being correct” to which yours truly responded “Well, I have a nice flat in **** thanks to it being wrong!” Now, you can sort of see how that can be! It depends upon a) to what use you put BS and, crucially, b) how much profit margin you can add to any deal!

Not naming any more names, it was clear from the rest of the conversation (which concerned numerical integration in infinite-dimensional spaces!) that, if this sample is to be trusted and extrapolated, a) half of all quants actually believe all this math finance modelling nonsense, b) one third of all quants don’t, and are rather concerned for the mental health of the first half, and c) one sixth of all quants either don’t care or have maybe been enjoying the excellent wine list at Union Square Cafe too much!