Peter's Q4 2016 Market Report

2016 Q4 Summary

Happy New Year to everyone!

This year marks a divergence from the cycle we’ve seen in recent years, namely hiring petering out in the fourth quarter with blanket hiring freezes going into effect.  In fact, we have continued to see offers go out late into December.  This activity doesn’t mean that the market is robust – the European banks continue to shrink their footprint in the US and remain on the sidelines.  However, I think it signals a return to normalcy where firms are hiring according to need, and the yearly cycles that were exacerbated by a poor business climate are no longer dominant.  We expect Q1 hiring to be brisk.

What (still) Sells

Hands-on skills and Subject Matter Expertise continue to be critical in this hiring environment.  That hasn’t changed since the Credit Crisis.  There’s an almost insatiable market for the best developers, even at the top end of the market.  A very well compensated technologist with whom we work told me recently that he was surprised at how good the market was for someone at his level.  It’s worth noting that our Buy side clients are clamoring for developers, not quants.

A very thoughtful MD recently gave me the following feedback on someone he had worked with, “Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none, which in 2016 is hard.” 


Base salaries are rising, albeit slowly.  While incentive compensation remains a big part of how the industry pays people, a variety of forces (tech industry including startups, European banks, loss of faith in bonuses) continue to push base salaries up.  We have seen more than one firm adjust base bands this year.  Note that the market remains tepid, and people moving laterally are more likely to see a 10% increase than 20%, which used to be the norm.  Wondering where you stand on comp?  Call me.

“side code projects”

I saw this on LinkedIn the other day and thought it was great “No, I have no side code projects to show you.”  Anyone who’s been on a tech interview in the past few years can relate to this article.

Direction for Hedge Funds

Who am I to say where hedge funds are going?  I wouldn’t bet against Manoj Narang, however.  What he says in this interview sure makes a lot of sense.  I don’t think you have to wonder who the smartest guy in the room is when he’s present.  Also, here’s a follow-up article on Quantopian, a fascinating crowd-sourced fund that may disrupt the industry, through its ability to attract “Young talent.”

Lighter Note

I’m a huge fan of The Moth.  This story is perfect for this crowd “Data Mining for Dates.”

Current Priorities

Buy Side

  • Senior data warehouse developer
  • Elite C++/Python developers to work at one of the industry’s most prestigious funds
  • Low-latency C++ developer for expanding prop shop
  • Java or C# developer to work on Risk and Performance Attribution system
  • C# contractor
  • Hands-on dev manager for Trade Flow group
  • Junior Python, AWS, JavaScript developer – 2+ years’ experience

Sell Side

  • Equities division seeks C++ developer for algo trading
  • Desk Strat – Credit Algo/eTrading
  • C++/Java/Scala developer for fixed income model integration
  • Market Risk SME Project Manager
  • Java algo trading developer – Equities
  • Java algo trading developer – Fixed Income Credit
  • JavaScript contractor for Credit Strats group
  • KDB developer for equity market data