QWAFAFEW is an informal organization of quantitatively oriented professionals in various aspects of financial services (primarily investment management). The group was formed a number of years ago to provide a venue for quantitative researchers to discuss their evolving work with peers. As the field has become more “main stream” our membership has also broadened. Our membership includes a wide variety of interests and levels of responsibility. The members span the gamut from owners and senior executives of investment related organizations to recent entrants to the industry. Most attendees have some technical training beyond the M.B.A. level, and many have Ph.D.s All share a common interest in quantitative solutions to understanding investment markets.
QWAFAFEW meetings are somewhat informal with a mix of social and intellectual content. Presentations are expected to be interactive (after a reserved period of at least 5 to 10 minutes for the speaker to present foundation material). Sometimes the interaction requires a kick-start. Typically, in keeping with the informal nature of the group, speakers use hand-outs rather than projection devices. Speakers who make materials available in electronic form for posting on the QWAFAFEW web site well before the meeting can expect at least half of the attendees to print out copies for use at the meeting. Presentations based on material used directly for client and prospect presentations is strongly discouraged (unless the presentation is unmasking fallacies and partial truths contained therein).
Typically, the monthly meetings (held on the third Tuesday of the month) are attended by 40 to 50 professionals, although some topics have drawn twice that many attendees. Meetings start at 6:15 sharpe, although many members arrive at around 6:00 in order to chat with friends and enjoy the snacks and drinks that are provided free of charge. Refreshments are paid for from funds collected in the form of annual dues ($150) and guest fees ($30 per meeting). After announcements and administrative details are attended to, the speaker presentation usually begins around 6:30. The formal presentation (typically designed to last from 20 to 40 minutes) and subsequent discussion usually last for somewhat under an hour, with informal discussion following. After most meetings, a small group of hangers-on will adjourn to a neighborhood restaurant for a casual dinner and continued discussion.