James O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management got his start in finance almost by accident: He was asked by a pension fund to review the performance of their various asset managers. Analyzing the investments by their quantitative characteristics, he reverse-engineered each of the portfolios, determining a more efficient and better-performing version of each one. Thus began his career in finance as a quant.

O'Shaughnessy came to the attention of the rest of the financial world as the author of "What Works On Wall Street." The book, now in its fourth edition, is a quantitative look at the various investment strategies that have and haven't been successful during the past century. Today, he is the chairman and chief executive officer of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management, which runs almost $7 billion dollars in client money.

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Next week, we speak with David Rosenberg, formerly Merrill Lynch's North American chief economist, now strategist and economist at Gluskin Sheff in Toronto.

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To contact the author on this story:
Barry L Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net