Under market pressure for greater professionalism and attention to compliance and regulatory issues, investment analysts and managers must demonstrate a systematic approach. Quantitative methods are increasingly being used in the investment process. There may still be a distinction between those who use a systematic process and those who rely on judgement and emotion, but anyone processing statistics in even the simplest way is using a quantitative method. There is thus a blurring of the sometimes artificial distinction between quant" and "non-quant" investing. In essence, all investors are trying to identify and exploit the same drivers and predictors of markets. Quantitative investors harness the power of technology and numerical disciplines to give themselves an edge. Their ranks are growing.

The Institute for Quantitative Research (INQUIRE), is a non-profit-making organisation dedicated to furthering research and understanding in the field of quantitative investment methodologies. INQUIRE's dictum is "bridging the gap between theory and practice".

INQUIRE was formed in the UK in 1987 on the model of the Q-Group, its US sister organisation, established in 1966. As well as helping develop quantitative solutions to financial problems, the institute maintains close working relationships with other professional organisations, like the Institute for Investment Management and Research (IIMR) and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. A prime role is to foster and strengthen links between the investment community and academia.

Membership of INQUIRE is corporate. Each sponsor organisation helps to fund a research programme in universities and business schools. Current membership comprises 56 organisations: banks, insurance companies, independent money managers, pension funds, stockbrokers and actuarial consultants. Two residential seminars are held each year, in spring and autumn, the former arranged jointly with INQUIRE Europe, another sister organisation formed in1989. Funded and non-funded papers are presented and sponsors can exchange views with each other and with academics. Each year INQUIRE awards prizes for the best papers presented at the seminars.

The main activities of INQUIRE are organised through five committees. The most important are the research committee, which examines, approves and monitors academic requests for research funding from the institute, and the programme committee, which brings topics and relevant research together at the seminars. Seminars are, or course, the natural forum for the presentation of papers on research topics funded by INQUIRE grants and provide sponsors with first-time access to research projects before papers are generally available for publication. Membership of INQUIRE automatically provides access to the papers and published summaries of work presented at the US and European sister groups' meetings and seminars. The other committees are administration, the prize committee and the nominating committee.

In 1995 INQUIRE published and circulated to sponsors a compendium of its achievements over its first six years, Collected Summaries October 1988-October 1994.

Christopher Clark of Credit Lyonnais Securities is secretary of INQUIRE. More information can be obtained from him on +44 171 214 5711or from Heather Martin at the administrative office (+44 1892 871101 and e-mail heather_martin@compuserve.com)"