H1 2017 Hiring Trends: Citadel on Top; Energy/Commodities, Healthcare and Tech Hottest Hiring Sectors; WorldQuant Recruiting Model Challenges Industry Norms

HFObserver tracked 3,500+ hedge fund job moves in H1 2017.

Chicago-headquartered Citadel led all hedge funds in hiring in the first half of 2017, with over 150 hedge fund staffers onboarded. Citadel hiring included full-time and internship roles for its hedge fund, including its Aptigon Capital and Surveyor Capital units, and did not include hiring for Citadel Securities, a separate market-making business also founded by Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.

New York–headquartered Millennium Management, which currently has the largest employee base in the industry (2,200), landed the No. 2 spot, followed by Stamford, CT–based Point72 Asset Management. Westport, CT–based Bridgewater Associates and New York–headquartered Two Sigma Investments tied for fourth place.

The energy/commodities sector led all sector-specific hiring in H1 2017, followed by the health care sector (which included biotech hires) and technology (which included tech, media and telecom sectors).

Citadel led hiring for all three hottest hiring sectors, sharing the top hiring spot with Millennium for energy/commodities. Millennium and Citadel also had several senior and junior departures from their energy/commodities investment teams.

Several hedge funds hired for their private equity/private investments, venture capital and family office units. Among them were Viking Global Investors, Dymon Asia Capital, Maverick Capital, Point72 Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Siegel Family Endowment (David Siegel is a cofounder of Two Sigma Investments) and Overdeck Family Foundation (John Overdeck is a cofounder of Two Sigma Investments).

But making the most waves is Old Greenwich, CT–headquartered global quantitative investment management firm WorldQuant, founded by Millennium alumnus and former game developer Igor Tulchinsky, which just barely made the top 10 list but which is shaping the potential future of investment recruiting in the hedge fund sector.

In a hedge fund world where being “global” usually means having an active office in all three key business regions (Americas, Europe, Asia) –– it’s typically no longer enough to simply have a quiet non-headquarter satellite presence simply for marketing purposes — this 10-year old firm, a newbie relative to its active hiring peers, already has 25 offices across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East (Israel) according to its website, making it the largest in terms of office footprint. Scroll through the pictures of Bangkok, Budapest, Bucharest, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, Sofia, Mumbai and Hanoi on WorldQuant’s contact page, and you’d think you were on an exotic travel site planning a dream vacation.

WorldQuant, which has an estimated $5 billion in assets under management (mostly from Millennium Management), has over 600 full-time staff according to its website, making it one of the larger hedge funds by staff size as well. Based on recent hiring on the firm, these offices are trading, technology, investment research and software research hubs with management/operations and recruiting teams.

WorldQuant also has over 400 part-time consultants around the world contributing to alpha generation research, according to a recent press release from the firm. And some of them are completely virtual to boot. Meanwhile, most hedge funds keep a small set of full-time inner-circle employees who contribute to their firms’ investment performance.

And while most hedge funds are still recruiting their next generation of senior talent from no more than a dozen colleges and universities, WorldQuant is drawing from both the best-known universities and places least known to US-centric recruiters. WorldQuant internal recruiters are often seeking talent with or without finance backgrounds, in the hopes of finding the best thinkers by drawing on the deepest and most diverse raw talent on earth and then having internal teams monitor performance in real time.

Career progression at WorldQuant is fast and not seniority-based — faster even than in other hedge funds, which as an industry is among the fastest to promote. The rate of WorldQuant promotions from summer internship to researcher consultant to researcher to the coveted senior researcher positions can occur in fewer than two to three years or as soon as one has proven one’s closely monitored value to the alpha generation system.

Meanwhile, WorldQuant has developed and branded a very active summer training/internship program and a global algorithmic coding competition (WorldQuant Challenge) to help source its dispersed talent pool; summer interns who take the challenge and achieve gold status are offered jobs as research consultants and are on their way to being potential full-time researchers and senior researchers.

And to spread the love, WorldQuant on Valentine’s Day extended its arms to the subset of global talent that already has senior investment experience and an investment track record. On February 14, WorldQuant announced the launch of its global portfolio manager platform that provides managers with full access to the firm’s leading technology and capabilities (WorldQuant Accelerator).

The HFObserver Industry Moves Database is compiled daily from publicly available sources and information sent to HFObserver (click here to access full listing of monthly job moves — subscription required). This survey includes only non-administrative hedge fund roles and does not distinguish between voluntary and involuntary departures.