Quant Overseas

Krishan Rattan, MFE 03
Founder & Managing Partner, Voltaire Capital, London

Establishing Société Générale’s global derivative financing business while running its emerging markets in London should have kept Krishan Rattan plenty busy during the economic crisis. Instead, the electrical-turned-financial engineer started thinking up new ways to manage assets in a shifting financial landscape.

“At Soc Gen, the greatest challenge was being relevant to our clients in a world where almost everything they needed from banks, banks couldn’t do,” says Rattan. “When capital is so scarce, it’s hard to convince your clients that they should spend their ever-shrinking banking wallet on you.”

India-born Rattan discovered financial engineering while pursuing his economics master’s in Milan. He worked in London for Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank after earning his Berkeley master of financial engineering degree.

With the Eurozone crisis brewing, Rattan asked what he could do differently if he set up a bank from scratch today.In January, with a small team of “risk-takers willing to challenge the status quo,” he launched Voltaire Capital, an advisory and asset management business focused on emerging markets.

“Banks will always belong in the financial market, but what banks used to do, want to do, and reasonably could do may be very different tomorrow,” says Rattan. “This creates opportunities for a focused, intellectually driven form of capital. A disruption of the established order provides us opportunities to assist investors.”

Rattan drives Voltaire’s business side, focusing on new products and transactions. He credits his MFE for teaching him to think intuitively, a skill he’s using to consider relocating to Asia.

“Many cutting-edge financial firms are coagulating in London, but Asia has real growth,” Rattan says. “My parents and teachers inculcated in me that change is good. I don’t mind taking risks. Just promise me that the journey will be interesting, and I’m happy to take the ride.”

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