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10/19/08

I'm curious to hear how everyone would rank the top prop trading firms. I've focused the post on firms in Chicago because that is where most of them are. Here is how I've ranked them:

  1. Spot Trading
  2. Jump Trading
  3. DRW Trading
  4. Optiver
  5. TransMarket Group
  6. Peak6 Investments
  7. Chicago Trading Company
  8. Infinium Capital Management
  9. Wolverine Trading
  10. Tower Hill Trading

Honorable mention for firms outside of Chicago:

  1. Jane Street Capital - NYC (considered to be the best)
  2. Susquehanna International Group - Philadelphia (on par with CTC)
  3. First New York Securities - NYC (on par with THT)

Feel free to change them around or offer any overall feedback or firm specific feedback.

Trader Joe's List with explanation further in the post.
1. Jane Street
2. DRW
3. SIG
4. Optiver
5. Spot
6. Transmarket
7. Wolverine
8. Peak6
9. Jump Trading
10. First New York

Comments (540)

10/13/14

"So now you want to know who has the best trading method/system?

Nobody has done better than Warren Buffet so go ask him for a job - he's hiring."

classic pure ignorance. don't need to defend yourself.

enough said.

10/13/14

"So now you want to know who has the best trading method/system?

Nobody has done better than Warren Buffet so go ask him for a job - he's hiring."

classic pure ignorance. don't need to defend yourself.

enough said.

What's to defend and what have I ignored? You asked a question, I answered - I even gave you a job lead (because he really is hiring) but I don't suppose it matters because it's advice that you don't want to hear.

10/13/14

have to agree with everyone on this thread - OP is absolutely clueless.

10/13/14

your chances are really high dude since you say you are smart. May I suggest a good, easy reading for you that was pointed out to me by a prop trader @my BB?He's trying to implement the model of this paper:
http://www.creditriskresource.com/papers/paper_116...

I guess it's a good system and easy to understand too. I'm sure you can help him, so below is his e-mail address:
youareanidiot@GS.com

10/13/14
monkeyderivative:

lol,
i go to a good school, good grade, i've had investment banking internship, i can pretty much get any internship i want now i'm interested in prop trading.

hahahahaha. This is truly great. You do know the interviews at places like Susq, DRW are very mental math (early rounds), probability, game-theory heavy. It really doesn't batter whether you know how to calculate gamma by memorizing a closed form formula. Your IBD internship also matters little regardless of how "quantitatively" challenging it is to build a DCF model.

Why not answer this question...usually of the same difficulty as one heard in first round phone interviews. Simple stats nothing crazy...and don't cheat:

You have a fair coin. How many flips will it take for you to say with 95% confidence that 70 heads have been flipped?

And of course, definitely read that paper by GGD. Its nothing compared to the ultra rigorous free cash flow calculation late at night during your banking internship.

10/13/14

"Why not answer this question...usually of the same difficulty as one heard in first round phone interviews. Simple stats nothing crazy...and don't cheat:

You have a fair coin. How many flips will it take for you to say with 95% confidence that 70 heads have been flipped? "

I am curious, how would you answer your question?

2 std devs on a fair coin for 70 heads... probably what, 180 flips? Just trying to picture the bell curve. I dunno, haven't done stats for a while.

10/13/14

Serious answer for OP> Get hired first. The guys at DRW and Susq were people who could have easily gone to a BB desk but decided to head there instead (many like the idea of eating what they kill early...and some shops pay very well). It will become pretty obvious which firms are best for you and you will be able to judge the capabilities of the various shops. This is attained through: talking to alumni from your school at the place, talking to interviewers...you should always judge how sharp your interviewers are, infrastructure, and pay.

10/13/14

thanks guys, these are the answers that i need, lets make the forum more efficient

10/13/14

forget quant skills, the OP needs "people skills" first and foremost.

monkeyderivative, you'd be socially retarded to expect many people to help answer your questions with your defensive anger, lack of humility and excessive self-praising.

To be honest, if I ever worked next to you it would take all my willpower to keep me from punching you in the face, lol.

10/13/14

lol, obviously you never worked in corporate america

10/13/14

you know that's sarcasm

and sure if you insist he's a prop trader, LOL

10/13/14

middle of page 16
http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2006ltr.pdf

what's your definition of a prop trader? Mine is someone that trades directly for the firm rather than on behalf of its clients.

So in my book this includes people managing their own portfolio, asset managers that are looking after their principals' money (SIG, Jane Street, etc), and book traders at investment banks (GS, UBS, JPM, Lehman, etc).

There are advantages and disadvantages to prop desk vis a vis other careers in investment banks, between different styles and indeed between different houses but you shouldn't be surprised that I'm not inclined to discuss while you seem similarly disinclined to listen.

10/13/14

i apologize for my rudeness,

however, i'm interested in short-term derivative trading and can you tell me what you look for in a prop shop.

10/13/14
monkeyderivative:

i apologize for my rudeness,

however, i'm interested in short-term derivative trading and can you tell me what you look for in a prop shop.

As mentioned previously (by Jimbo I think) I would look at the quality of the interviewers (assuming they are the ones you will be working for) - go with the one that you think you will learn the most from.

10/13/14

No one on the street calls Berk or large asset managers "prop trading firms". They are usually "investors" thus, ruling out the "trading" label. While yea technically you didn't make an error, don't try to be cute. Its nauseating.

Also this guy isn't going to get hired to manage the 40+billion cash (and the god knows how much in invested capital) and fill WB's shoes. There are tens of young (when I say young I mean 10 years of experience) value investors who would jump over a bridge for this opportunity.

10/13/14
trdr1:

No one on the street calls Berk or large asset managers "prop trading firms". They are usually "investors" thus, ruling out the "trading" label. While yea technically you didn't make an error, don't try to be cute. Its nauseating.

Also this guy isn't going to get hired to manage the 40+billion cash (and the god knows how much in invested capital) and fill WB's shoes. There are tens of young (when I say young I mean 10 years of experience) value investors who would jump over a bridge for this opportunity.

haha it's ok, he's just trying to help, ill accept whatever he says.

10/13/14

No one on the street calls Berk or large asset managers "prop trading firms". They are usually "investors" thus, ruling out the "trading" label. While yea technically you didn't make an error, don't try to be cute. Its nauseating.

ah diddums - have I committed some kind of labelling faux pas? If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck - guess what - it's probably a duck.
So if you're feeling nauseous then I'll pass the bucket and you can heave away

Also this guy isn't going to get hired to manage the 40+billion cash (and the god knows how much in invested capital) and fill WB's shoes. There are tens of young (when I say young I mean 10 years of experience) value investors who would jump over a bridge for this opportunity.

The suggestion was that Monkeyderivative identify what it is that he wants to do. I apologise if that was too subtle for the Internet.

10/13/14

monkey you must be on this website 24/7

10/13/14

bump
anyone?

10/13/14

JSC

10/13/14

jsc? yeh, if i had to name one "best" it'd be that my castrated crony

10/13/14

Other than JSC, I'd say Optiver.

I win here, I win there...

10/13/14
Bi-Winning:

Other than JSC, I'd say Optiver.

Flat out wrong. Optiver are mere shadows of their former selves. If you don't know, don't say.

10/13/14

Optiver is a fucking joke give me a break. the only legit ones are jsc sig and Getco

10/13/14
arden:

Optiver is a fucking joke give me a break. the only legit ones are jsc sig and Getco

Why do you think Optiver is a joke ? Did you have a bad experience with them ?

10/13/14
mcmoran23:
arden:

Optiver is a fucking joke give me a break. the only legit ones are jsc sig and Getco

Why do you think Optiver is a joke ? Did you have a bad experience with them ?

To resurrect a highly cliche quote: "Opinions are like assholes- everyone has one."

I win here, I win there...

10/13/14

Cities with good prop firm coverage - obviously Chicago, but also Amsterdam (the Dutch have a strong rep), London, Frankfurt and Zug.

In terms of companies - I like Optiver, SIG, JSC and Tibra (as an outlier).
The best - results? performance generally? Ability to outperform the market? Well, I'd say Optiver.

The best man always wins.

10/13/14
bman:

In terms of companies - I like Optiver, SIG, JSC and Tibra (as an outlier).
The best - results? performance generally? Ability to outperform the market? Well, I'd say Optiver.

How on earth would you know performance/ability to outperform the market at multiple firms? Prop firms guard this info like the CIA does state secrets. Slight hyperbole, but you get the picture.

Also, there's been debates on this, but how do you define "performance"? You can't compare companies who do true arb strategies to companies that bet outrights on futures.

This is the stuff that makes me skeptical anytime someone wants to rank on "performance"

10/13/14

In terms of selectivity and compensation, the top two prop firms are Getco and Jane Street. Right behind them are DRW, SIG, Jump.

Optiver is still good; they give a base salary of $80K/year to first-year traders, but they've been struggling lately and have fired a lot of people. I recently met an ex-Optiver trader who left, and now he's playing professional online poker. He said it was fun working there initially, but after algorithms took over, the job got really boring.

10/13/14

aardvark trading.

10/13/14

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

10/13/14
Gold Man Sack:

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

Interviewed there and received and offer several years ago (so might be outdated). Eurodollar spread trading. They spend a good amount of time training you and the guys seem nice, but just not as sophisticated as a DRW, JSC, DE Shaw, Jump, SIG, etc. That said, you could also potentially make more money there. Probably a lower rate of success though. Success there seems more dependent on market feel.

10/13/14
matthewlesko:
Gold Man Sack:

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

Interviewed there and received and offer several years ago (so might be outdated). Eurodollar spread trading. They spend a good amount of time training you and the guys seem nice, but just not as sophisticated as a DRW, JSC, DE Shaw, Jump, SIG, etc. That said, you could also potentially make more money there. Probably a lower rate of success though. Success there seems more dependent on market feel.

At the risk of sparking flames, what's your opinion of the top prop shops right now? Based on everything I know my opinion is still:

Getco, JSC, Hudson River Trading, Jump Trading, Five Rings Capital, SIG, DRW, IMC, Madison Tyler, DC Energy, Optiver.

Roughly in that order. Not including the likes of Citadel, Shaw, Tower since they are hedge funds.

10/13/14
absinthe:
matthewlesko:
Gold Man Sack:

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

Interviewed there and received and offer several years ago (so might be outdated). Eurodollar spread trading. They spend a good amount of time training you and the guys seem nice, but just not as sophisticated as a DRW, JSC, DE Shaw, Jump, SIG, etc. That said, you could also potentially make more money there. Probably a lower rate of success though. Success there seems more dependent on market feel.

At the risk of sparking flames, what's your opinion of the top prop shops right now? Based on everything I know my opinion is still:

Getco, JSC, Hudson River Trading, Jump Trading, Five Rings Capital, SIG, DRW, IMC, Madison Tyler, DC Energy, Optiver.

Roughly in that order. Not including the likes of Citadel, Shaw, Tower since they are hedge funds.

imo, five rings capital is way too small and young to be rankable. also probably allston trading in chicago deserves a spot on there. and i thought tower was a prop shop.

10/13/14
anontrader:
absinthe:
matthewlesko:
Gold Man Sack:

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

Interviewed there and received and offer several years ago (so might be outdated). Eurodollar spread trading. They spend a good amount of time training you and the guys seem nice, but just not as sophisticated as a DRW, JSC, DE Shaw, Jump, SIG, etc. That said, you could also potentially make more money there. Probably a lower rate of success though. Success there seems more dependent on market feel.

At the risk of sparking flames, what's your opinion of the top prop shops right now? Based on everything I know my opinion is still:

Getco, JSC, Hudson River Trading, Jump Trading, Five Rings Capital, SIG, DRW, IMC, Madison Tyler, DC Energy, Optiver.

Roughly in that order. Not including the likes of Citadel, Shaw, Tower since they are hedge funds.

imo, five rings capital is way too small and young to be rankable. also probably allston trading in chicago deserves a spot on there. and i thought tower was a prop shop.

No, Allston is nowhere near those other shops.

The top prop shops are Getco and Jane Street, followed by jump/drw/SIG/IMC. From talking to friends, Optiver has been in rapid decline, and some of their best traders have jumped ship.

10/13/14
Brady4MVP:
anontrader:
absinthe:
matthewlesko:
Gold Man Sack:

anyone know anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago??

Interviewed there and received and offer several years ago (so might be outdated). Eurodollar spread trading. They spend a good amount of time training you and the guys seem nice, but just not as sophisticated as a DRW, JSC, DE Shaw, Jump, SIG, etc. That said, you could also potentially make more money there. Probably a lower rate of success though. Success there seems more dependent on market feel.

At the risk of sparking flames, what's your opinion of the top prop shops right now? Based on everything I know my opinion is still:

Getco, JSC, Hudson River Trading, Jump Trading, Five Rings Capital, SIG, DRW, IMC, Madison Tyler, DC Energy, Optiver.

Roughly in that order. Not including the likes of Citadel, Shaw, Tower since they are hedge funds.

imo, five rings capital is way too small and young to be rankable. also probably allston trading in chicago deserves a spot on there. and i thought tower was a prop shop.

No, Allston is nowhere near those other shops.

The top prop shops are Getco and Jane Street, followed by jump/drw/SIG/IMC. From talking to friends, Optiver has been in rapid decline, and some of their best traders have jumped ship.

i can think of multiple people who have chosen allston over shops on that list.

10/13/14

I've heard the same thing about Optiver. TransMarket Group is another one that has gotten hurt lately. Fired over 50% of their traders. I know these market conditions are more difficult to market make but are all of the MM firms getting killed or is it just certain markets or firms?

10/13/14

I would think that given all the information available, DRW and Getco probably should make the list of firms with the reputation for smartest traders. Maybe Jump too.

That said, any kinda discovery on prop shop earnings would be kinda tough given that they're PROPRIETARY.

This is like trying to figure out which ten people in your small town are the richest. The response from 70% of folks- MYOB, or MYOFB if they're traders.

In reality, the best proprietary trader last year was a 14 year-old kid from Billings, Montana who thought some penny-stock candy company was a good investment and managed to snag a 15-bagger with $200 of his lawn mowing money. The only institution that really knows what the best proprietary traders/ trading firms are is the IRS- and in reality, they only know which US taxpayers who properly report all capital gains income are the best proprietary traders.

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

In reality, the best proprietary trader last year was a 14 year-old kid from Billings, Montana who thought some penny-stock candy company was a good investment and managed to snag a 15-bagger with $200 of his lawn mowing money.

The ROI is off the charts but in the end all he was left with was $3,000 if in fact he had a 15-bagger. This is a big deal somehow?

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

In reality, the best proprietary trader last year was a 14 year-old kid from Billings, Montana who thought some penny-stock candy company was a good investment and managed to snag a 15-bagger with $200 of his lawn mowing money.

Sounds like a pre-pubescent Timothy Sykes.

I win here, I win there...

10/13/14

It's a big deal because he's the best proprietary trading firm in terms of returns in the country.

10/13/14

Is this kid fictional? Any source?

I win here, I win there...

10/13/14

He's fictional, but if it were possible to verify the outcome, I'd stake money on 50:50 odds that the best proprietary performance last year came from a random non-professional- probably some kid who wants to study Agriculture at the University of Wyoming- or some grandma who didn't know what she was doing with a personal account and stuck all her money into a small-cap oil driller- who just got lucky.

The bottom line is that trading would be a lot better if people stopped focusing on how everyone else was doing and focused on how THEY were going to make more money. The guy at the top doesn't waste time on that- that's why he's at the top.

10/13/14

Are people seriously comparing Optiver and Getco and DRW all in the same thread? Most of these firms have very different business models and trade different products, markets, etc. I just have to laugh at ppl comparing DRW to Getco or Jump. Those shops share very few similarities.

10/13/14

Most people aren't even sure what business model these firms follow. For instance, I thought I knew Getco's model- until they bought a large specialist operation on the NYSE. But in the aggregate, you can take a look at the friends who've gone off to different firms and talk about how smart they are, irrespective of the firms' main business model. All of the big firms do algorithmic trading; all of them do trading by hand. Most of them stick to exchange traded stuff, although there can be exceptions.

That said, I think the point of ranking firms based on prestigiousness- or even how they did in a single year- is kinda silly. Many of the prop shops have owners who might actually be pretty disgusted if their firm got ranked the most prestigious in the business.

In the long term, it's better to work for a brilliant prop trader- and learn a thing or two from him- at Charles Schwab than it is to work for an idiot at DRW. So the real question you should be asking yourself is "How smart is my manager? How much can I learn from him?" Long-term, you find that your compensation and marketability is tied more closely to competence than you think, and competence is affected more by how smart your manager/team is than your firm's reputation.

10/13/14

Good post, Illini.

10/13/14

So nobody knows anything about Eldorado Trading in Chicago ha? In that case, any idea what advantages/disadvantages come along with having a no-name like that on your resume vs. being a total blank slate nube to prop-trading when applying to a more reputable shop like the ones discussed above?

10/13/14

It means you've got a track record of making money.

And your manager is the most important part, IMHO. Certainly as a developer, as a quant, and probably as a trader. Having a manager you can learn a lot from is worth switching from prop trading Goldman to commodities hedging at General Mills in Minnesota. It's possible to spend two years at DRW and be just as worthless as when you came in. (Although it's more likely you'll get fired before that.) A majority of that comes down to you, but the next biggest factor is your manager and/or other mentors.

Most Chicago prop shops are pretty pragmatic. They don't care if you have DRW or card counting on your resume; Columbia New York or Columbia Chicago; they care whether you can make money- and a track record is the best indication of that. If someone were to come in to a Chicago prop shop with a parakeet that he/she claims can make them money bawk, I see a head and shoulders, bawk and show a long track record proving it and manage to convince them, the firm's probably going to be placing a huge order for bird feed that evening.

10/13/14

Why are you concerned about leaving the company if you were to get an offer when you haven't worked there? Illini is on point on this. Going to bigger firms doesn't guarantee better training and it definitely doesn't guarantee more money--they are just different.

And I can attest that some of these top prop places have people that, like Illini said, are quite unusual. Some people are literally on medication crazy and others just have very unusual appearances, but they get it together enough for work and are good at what they do and are kept around.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

Why are you concerned about leaving the company if you were to get an offer when you haven't worked there? Illini is on point on this. Going to bigger firms doesn't guarantee better training and it definitely doesn't guarantee more money--they are just different.

And I can attest that some of these top prop places have people that, like Illini said, are quite unusual. Some people are literally on medication crazy and others just have very unusual appearances, but they get it together enough for work and are good at what they do and are kept around.

I ask because you hear about the smaller shops going out of business left and right so i think it's a legit concern to have. also just generally curious about whether most prop recruiters prefer people with less-than-stellar experience or no experience at all. i've heard conflicting opinions

10/13/14
Gold Man Sack:
Jerome Marrow:

Why are you concerned about leaving the company if you were to get an offer when you haven't worked there? Illini is on point on this. Going to bigger firms doesn't guarantee better training and it definitely doesn't guarantee more money--they are just different.

And I can attest that some of these top prop places have people that, like Illini said, are quite unusual. Some people are literally on medication crazy and others just have very unusual appearances, but they get it together enough for work and are good at what they do and are kept around.

I ask because you hear about the smaller shops going out of business left and right so i think it's a legit concern to have. also just generally curious about whether most prop recruiters prefer people with less-than-stellar experience or no experience at all. i've heard conflicting opinions

mind you i would still prefer a thumbs up/thumbs down on Eldorado if any one had any experience with them. i asked the follow up question about exit ops only because nobody seems to have any info on the company.

10/13/14

Where do you hear about them going out of business? Frankly, some of what was posted above doesn't make a lot of sense from what I have personally seen in my friends and colleagues. One of those firms hired over a dozen new traders in their Chicago office this past year and were scrambling to get some more over the summer and one of the others increased starting salary for clerks/trainees.

Which firms have been going out of business? I know 2008 through to the flash crash has hurt some firms, but plenty of others have been on hiring sprees. That is the nature of the industry. Optiver/DRW/Getco/Jump/JSC/etc. haven't exactly been around for many decades.

10/13/14

Can we get a ranking here? Any ranking will be inherently speculative. These top 25 firms are all great.

Nevertheless, I'll post my own ranking of firms employing strategies across algorithmic trading, market making, speculative/fundamental trading/HFT, excluding banks/IM/hedge funds (e.g. Shaw/Citadel/Goldman/AQR):

  1. Getco
  2. Five Rings Capital
  3. Jane Street
  4. Hudson River Trading
  5. Jump Trading
  6. Optiver
  7. SIG
  8. DRW
  9. IMC
  10. Tower Research
  11. Spot Trading
  12. Tibra
  13. Allston Trading
  14. Madison Tyler
  15. DC Energy
  16. Louis Dreyfus Commodities
  17. Flow Traders
  18. Timber Hill
  19. First New York Securities
  20. Chicago Trading Company
  21. TransMarket
  22. Consolidated Trading
  23. Group1 Trading
  24. Trillium
  25. Wolverine

Honorable Mentions: Ronin, Cheiron Trading, Gelber Group, Aardvark Trading, Geneva Trading, Eldorado Trading, Archelon, Marquette

Please feel free to correct this list, just something to start with.

10/13/14
SIG:

Can we get a ranking here? Any ranking will be inherently speculative. These top 25 firms are all great.

Nevertheless, I'll post my own ranking of firms employing strategies across algorithmic trading, market making, speculative/fundamental trading/HFT, excluding banks/IM/hedge funds (e.g. Shaw/Citadel/Goldman/AQR):

  1. Getco
  2. Five Rings Capital
  3. Jane Street
  4. Hudson River Trading
  5. Jump Trading
  6. Optiver
  7. SIG
  8. DRW
  9. IMC
  10. Tower Research
  11. Spot Trading
  12. Tibra
  13. Allston Trading
  14. Madison Tyler
  15. DC Energy
  16. Louis Dreyfus Commodities
  17. Flow Traders
  18. Timber Hill
  19. First New York Securities
  20. Chicago Trading Company
  21. TransMarket
  22. Consolidated Trading
  23. Group1 Trading
  24. Trillium
  25. Wolverine

Honorable Mentions: Ronin, Cheiron Trading, Gelber Group, Aardvark Trading, Geneva Trading, Eldorado Trading, Archelon, Marquette

Please feel free to correct this list, just something to start with.

The main problem with making lists is you come up with the questions then, what do they trade/how do they trade/what markets do they trade in/etc. I mean, comparing CTC versus a place like Getco would be ridiculous simply because of the lack of similarities between the two. Even looking at your smaller firms among the honorable mentions, Gelber has a presence on the floor with a number of old school guys and is involved in option MM, while Geneva is a pure algorithmic shop.

And if we make the list in order by compensation, it will be hugely different as well. Some of the 'best' and 'most prestigious' shops don't pay shit in comparison to some smaller shops (many of which are not even on this list) and while you will have a higher degree (relatively) of job security and likely base salary as well, your bonus potential is substantially smaller.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:
SIG:

Can we get a ranking here? Any ranking will be inherently speculative. These top 25 firms are all great.

Nevertheless, I'll post my own ranking of firms employing strategies across algorithmic trading, market making, speculative/fundamental trading/HFT, excluding banks/IM/hedge funds (e.g. Shaw/Citadel/Goldman/AQR):

  1. Getco
  2. Five Rings Capital
  3. Jane Street
  4. Hudson River Trading
  5. Jump Trading
  6. Optiver
  7. SIG
  8. DRW
  9. IMC
  10. Tower Research
  11. Spot Trading
  12. Tibra
  13. Allston Trading
  14. Madison Tyler
  15. DC Energy
  16. Louis Dreyfus Commodities
  17. Flow Traders
  18. Timber Hill
  19. First New York Securities
  20. Chicago Trading Company
  21. TransMarket
  22. Consolidated Trading
  23. Group1 Trading
  24. Trillium
  25. Wolverine

Honorable Mentions: Ronin, Cheiron Trading, Gelber Group, Aardvark Trading, Geneva Trading, Eldorado Trading, Archelon, Marquette

Please feel free to correct this list, just something to start with.

The main problem with making lists is you come up with the questions then, what do they trade/how do they trade/what markets do they trade in/etc. I mean, comparing CTC versus a place like Getco would be ridiculous simply because of the lack of similarities between the two. Even looking at your smaller firms among the honorable mentions, Gelber has a presence on the floor with a number of old school guys and is involved in option MM, while Geneva is a pure algorithmic shop.

And if we make the list in order by compensation, it will be hugely different as well. Some of the 'best' and 'most prestigious' shops don't pay shit in comparison to some smaller shops (many of which are not even on this list) and while you will have a higher degree (relatively) of job security and likely base salary as well, your bonus potential is substantially smaller.

If you have a better list by compensation, feel free to post it - I'm certainly not an expert. I was honestly trying to give my best impression of how these firms are ranked based on median comp/hour. Also, if you name some of those small shops that pay well I can add them to the list.

10/13/14

WOW! Thanks! this is the best list so far! Do you have a list of Investment Banking firms that are hiring full time traders? PM me please!

Successful people are willing to do the things unsuccessful people can, but are unwilling to do ..o

10/13/14

Care to share how you came up with this list....is it just your perception or did you use some sort of quantifiable system?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14
happypantsmcgee:

Care to share how you came up with this list....is it just your perception or did you use some sort of quantifiable system?

Where possible, based on information/hearsay about base salary/compensation and/or selectiveness/rigorousness of the interview process.

10/13/14
SIG:
happypantsmcgee:

Care to share how you came up with this list....is it just your perception or did you use some sort of quantifiable system?

Where possible, based on information/hearsay about base salary/compensation and/or selectiveness/rigorousness of the interview process.

Ahh gotcha, I would be tempted to say that, if you wanted to rank them you would be better off breaking them into tiers simply because the selectivity between Jane Street and Optiver for example is a wash, there is no real tangible difference between the two. I would also bump Tillium up a bit

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14

Informative list SIG

10/13/14

One thing though - I haven't heard about 5 Rings Capital at all, not that that means much. Why are they on your list?

10/13/14
monkeysama:

One thing though - I haven't heard about 5 Rings Capital at all, not that that means much. Why are they on your list?

I've talked to a few people who have interviewed there/have information about the firm, and according to hearsay at least the firm pays extremely well and is very selective.

In terms of Jane Street vs DRW/Optiver, most of the traders/wannabe traders I talk to tend to put JSC on a higher pedestal. Also, their interview process seems more selective to me. Both great firms, obviously.

10/13/14

I wonder if their MD is Miyamoto Musashi :P

10/13/14

Five Rings Capital? WTH? Who are they? And where's the ring to rule them all?

10/13/14

You're surrounded by karate monkeys Mr. Bond. You will never stop me now!
MUHAHAHAHAHAH

10/13/14

I think the best list is base on compensation, reputation, and size of firm. Compensation for obvious reasons. Reputation because if you do leave, although that might not be your goal, you want to have a hit on your resume. And size because 1) the larger firms hire more so you have better chances most likely and 2) the larger firms, at least in terms of capital which hiring is a pretty strong signal of, are less likely to fold.

As far as what they trade or what they're strategy is, it doesn't matter. For someone at a junior position, unless you really feel strongly or have good information about a sector or a strategy you aren't going to be able to make an educated decision about this stuff so it just doesn't affect your application strategy.

10/13/14
monkeysama:

I think the best list is base on compensation, reputation, and size of firm. Compensation for obvious reasons. Reputation because if you do leave, although that might not be your goal, you want to have a hit on your resume. And size because 1) the larger firms hire more so you have better chances most likely and 2) the larger firms, at least in terms of capital which hiring is a pretty strong signal of, are less likely to fold.

As far as what they trade or what they're strategy is, it doesn't matter. For someone at a junior position, unless you really feel strongly or have good information about a sector or a strategy you aren't going to be able to make an educated decision about this stuff so it just doesn't affect your application strategy.

Well it's important to know the strategies when applying because e.g. algo places tend to require a CS heavy skillset, but I agree that the list should be based on comp/reputation without regard for the strategy. Indeed, it's hard to know the strategy for a lot of these places.

10/13/14

Oh yeah sure. You can't apply to Ren Tec or Getco and have never seen a computer before. I guess I was thinking about places that have trading roles that are not programming. For that matter it would be interesting to know which firms have purely CS driven trading and which don't - I'm not sure if I know that for all firms.

10/13/14
monkeysama:

Oh yeah sure. You can't apply to Ren Tec or Getco and have never seen a computer before. I guess I was thinking about places that have trading roles that are not programming. For that matter it would be interesting to know which firms have purely CS driven trading and which don't - I'm not sure if I know that for all firms.

Dude, nearly all of the firms listed there that aren't purely algo/HF shops are option market-making firms for the most part--the 'strategies' aren't exactly rocket science. Many of the firms listed there, however, are quant and algo based and will require you to be exceptional @ CS. That is why it is baffling when I see these lists--could you see some geeky kid from Jump trying to survive and thrive in the SPX or VIX pit?

10/13/14

Five rings have like only 10-20 people, but the founder was from Jane Street and their interview process is very similar to that of Jane Street. They only recruit at HYPM.

10/13/14
vectorkid:

Five rings have like only 10-20 people, but the founder was from Jane Street and their interview process is very similar to that of Jane Street. They only recruit at HYPM.

Yeah that's pretty much the info I have on the firm, plus some speculative but awesome comp numbers.

10/13/14

Huh.....good to know about five rings.

Monkeysamas chance of getting in: 0

Oh well.
You have any other gems vectorkid?

10/13/14

Whatever man, I would beat someone into submission with a tire iron just for an interview at this point.

10/13/14

Wait, you made this list based on what you perceive to be the ones with the best compensation? Oh boy.... I think that is a bad way to go about it to begin with (median compensation @ a trading firm.... really?), but this list would be substantially different. The salaries vary dramatically, even within the same firm, as do bonuses, which vary dramatically because of the amount of risk allowed to be taken, trading environment (group versus individual), strategies, individual skill, and more. It is just a silly way of going about it.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

Wait, you made this list based on what you perceive to be the ones with the best compensation? Oh boy.... I think that is a bad way to go about it to begin with (median compensation @ a trading firm.... really?), but this list would be substantially different. The salaries vary dramatically, even within the same firm, as do bonuses, which vary dramatically because of the amount of risk allowed to be taken, trading environment (group versus individual), strategies, individual skill, and more. It is just a silly way of going about it.

Of course the compensation varies dramatically. I think the IDEAL list would be by median comp/hour of the traders, or maybe a weighted combination of individual trader compensation, but there's no way I'm getting complete data. Still, from hearsay/info it's possible to know what the entry level base at say, Optiver or Trillium is, as well as some idea of bonus potential.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

Wait, you made this list based on what you perceive to be the ones with the best compensation? Oh boy.... I think that is a bad way to go about it to begin with (median compensation @ a trading firm.... really?), but this list would be substantially different. The salaries vary dramatically, even within the same firm, as do bonuses, which vary dramatically because of the amount of risk allowed to be taken, trading environment (group versus individual), strategies, individual skill, and more. It is just a silly way of going about it.

How does variance make knowing the mean valueless? Or make knowing the median valueless? It's still certainly better than no information. Showing off that you know compensation varies (hardly uncommon knowledge), and implying that this means someone's list is terrible, really contributes nothing.

On the other hand, if we had a decent list of median (or mean, or bounds, any metric really is better than nothing) entry level compensations at several dozen firms, many people would find that a very good contribution.

10/13/14
juked07:

How does variance make knowing the mean valueless? Or make knowing the median valueless? It's still certainly better than no information. Showing off that you know compensation varies (hardly uncommon knowledge), and implying that this means someone's list is terrible, really contributes nothing.

lol you're right.... people should go off mean and median salaries for these firms, most of which have under 100 people in an office (I'm talking about total employees, let alone # of traders), most of whom have traders that haven't been around even 5-6 years, and have ranges among these low numbers of traders of under $100k/yr to the tens of millions for partners (some of whom are/were in their 20s at some of these places). You're right, that is a fantastic way to go about it. Even better, many (most?) of the firms listed have not even been around a decade. Yeah, the market is rapidly changing and has been nuts over the last 3-4 years, but you know what, go off the mean/median compensation, if you have it (I doubt even the companies keep that kind of data). That makes a fuckload of sense.

My point was that the mean and median aren't going to be very representative because the samples sizes are so small and have widely variable populations (age, seniority, etc.). Seriously dude, you're a dumbass.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:
juked07:

How does variance make knowing the mean valueless? Or make knowing the median valueless? It's still certainly better than no information. Showing off that you know compensation varies (hardly uncommon knowledge), and implying that this means someone's list is terrible, really contributes nothing.

lol you're right.... people should go off mean and median salaries for these firms, most of which have under 100 people in an office (I'm talking about total employees, let alone # of traders), most of whom have traders that haven't been around even 5-6 years, and have ranges among these low numbers of traders of under $100k/yr to the tens of millions for partners (some of whom are/were in their 20s at some of these places). You're right, that is a fantastic way to go about it. Even better, many (most?) of the firms listed have not even been around a decade. Yeah, the market is rapidly changing and has been nuts over the last 3-4 years, but you know what, go off the mean/median compensation, if you have it (I doubt even the companies keep that kind of data). That makes a fuckload of sense.

My point was that the mean and median aren't going to be very representative because the samples sizes are so small and have widely variable populations (age, seniority, etc.). Seriously dude, you're a dumbass.

The only claim I made was that this information is not "valueless." Personal attacks aside, would you like to demonstrate that knowing nothing is better than knowing the mean and/or median compensation numbers for a set of interesting trading firms?

Best of luck to you!

10/13/14

Jerome you gotta understand. These firms are fucking secret as shit and we are, for the most part, ignorant UG dweebs. We operate with the best information we have even if it is some incredibly weak sauce. I'm sure all of those firms can be stellar places to work and completely lousy, depending what your situation is in the firm or who you make friends with, etc. If you have some good tips please lay em on us.

10/13/14

Wtf do you mean comp/hour? Do you think that the number of hours you work is a strongly significant factor in how much money you make?

I don't think the firms are AS secretive as you think. People aren't going to tell you what their bonus was most likely, but that shouldn't be the discerning factor for you anyway--go somewhere that has some solid training program, is well capitalized, you feel like you can get along and work with the people who interviewed you, and will give you the opportunity because each of those firms has absurdly successful and wealthy traders that have plenty of F U money (since that is what everyone here talks about). Base salary.... I mean that is a pretty bad way to go about it IMO. For example, Belvedere (a firm not listed here, but is a big player in option MM) pays a relatively low/shit starting salary (mid/low 40s for clerks I think--that was a couple years ago though last I heard), but they have good traders that make a substantial amount of money and if you are good there, you will be taken care of just as well as any other firm. DRW pays more than that and so do a lot of firms, but that doesn't mean you ARE going to learn to be a better trader or that you will make any more money for yourself--possibly less even if you are stuck as a clerk for a long period of time and part of a large group with a different incentive/compensation structure.

If you are at any of the firms listed, you can be making hundreds of thousands within 2-3 years of being out of school. I work at one of the firms listed and have friends at prob 6-7 others listed on there and there are more people than you would believe in the industry, 24-26y/o, that are making $200-400k++ after bonus (and a limited number that are way above that area even into the 7 figures). This is at a wide variety of firms.

10/13/14

/ is division. Trading firm hours vary quite a bit, generally 45-65. Making 1.5X at Firm A vs X at firm B, isn't necessarily preferable if the hours at firm A are atrocious. Some firms definitely have better reputations in terms of work/life.

Also you make a good point, but outlier comp is, well, an outlier. The majority of traders probably aren't making 400k after 3 years, even at these firms. 200k is actually quite likely 2-4 years in at many of these firms. Median comp, or in the best case a weighted average of comp discounting the tails of the probability distribution, would be the best way to compare. It's also true that comp shouldn't be the only factor - exit options/brand name/training is all important, and I did factor that in somewhat to the list. It's not a perfect list, but I think it's a pretty decent attempt at ranking desirability of trading firms.

I would add Belvedere to the list, but you quoted my post so I can't edit it...

10/13/14

Jerome another quick thing that I want to mention. None of this is meant, at least by me (I don't know if I can speak for anyone else) to construe that one firm is better than another. To me it's kind of a weighted average of the chances of getting in and expected pay. I would be delighted to be interviewed at any of these firms, but when I'm allocating my networking time I have to have some mechanism to order them, as imperfect as it may be.

10/13/14

Why did my list get monkey shit thrown at it?

10/13/14

Ok guys come on. Don't downgrade each other on this. I've plussed both of you even though I think you don't deserve it.

The list was a good one, if only for the fact that I learned about Five Rings Capital and may not have otherwise. The list is far from scientific and the rankings have probably an illusory correlation to reality. Fine, let's just move on.

10/13/14

the 2008 list was written by someone not even in the industry anymore. someone that focused on exit ops and comparing firms but when it came time to talk about the market he said "we trade equity index volatility arbitrage". These lists are stupid.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14
trade4size:

the 2008 list was written by someone not even in the industry anymore. someone that focused on exit ops and comparing firms but when it came time to talk about the market he said "we trade equity index volatility arbitrage". These lists are stupid.

Say Santa Claus gave you two offers. One is to work at Jane Street Capital as an AT, the other at Trillium. What would you tell Santa.

The idea behind a ranking is simple - some firms tend to be more desirable/lucrative, and a ranking tends to be the best way to represent that albeit imperfectly.

10/13/14
Trade4Life:
trade4size:

the 2008 list was written by someone not even in the industry anymore. someone that focused on exit ops and comparing firms but when it came time to talk about the market he said "we trade equity index volatility arbitrage". These lists are stupid.

Say Santa Claus gave you two offers. One is to work at Jane Street Capital as an AT, the other at Trillium. What would you tell Santa.

How the fuck do you visit EVERY little kids' house in ONE night? Answer me fat man!

10/13/14

Neither im quite happy where I am thanks. Thats such a dopey question anyway. JSC focuses on options market making and Trillium does directional based daytrading you cannot compare them. I am not going to be as nice about it as the others were in the thread. there are people that want to trade equities, and there are people that want to trade options there is no master list.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14
trade4size:

Neither im quite happy where I am thanks. Thats such a dopey question anyway. JSC focuses on options market making and Trillium does directional based daytrading you cannot compare them. I am not going to be as nice about it as the others were in the thread. there are people that want to trade equities, and there are people that want to trade options there is no master list.

That's a fair point, but if you HAD (theoretically) a master list of firms ranked perfectly by compensation/reputation/ect, then someone looking to trade options could just consider the relevant firms and make a sub-list using the master list. Plus, creating multiple lists would be too cumbersome, especially since many firms trade so many products (just look at FNYS or SIG for example).

My final view on lists - inherently imperfect, but not valueless.

10/13/14

Don't make me pull this thread over, cause I'll do it!

10/13/14

opposed to ranking the firms you should be focusing on what interests you then you should rank them accordingly.

Things you want to ask yourself

Do I want to trade a directionally or be arb focused.
High touch vs algorithmic
What products interest you
What are the future prospects for this product, how has it changed in the past 10 years and where do you see it going in the next 10 years
What is the firms attitude towards risk?
How soon will you be able to be trading your own book?
Are the firms team oriented or individual focused
What is the technology at the firm like
How well is the firm capitalized

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14

How do you find out how well a firm is capitalized? I thought that was secret since it's a prop firm and doesn't report it?

10/13/14

lol i like how mr princeton boy is smashing on trillium since he knows i work there and to get at me for flaming him earlier about his attitude lol

10/13/14

Its pretty pathetic that he can't just let the shit go after all this time...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14
happypantsmcgee:

Its pretty pathetic that he can't just let the shit go after all this time...

Curious - where would you rank Trillium and which firms would you push farther down the ranking. If Trillium moves up, then Group1/Consolidated/TransMarket all move down the list. All these firms are great, and if you are a great trader you will do well at all of them. Many great firms aren't even in that (highly subjective) top 25.

10/13/14
Trade4Life:
happypantsmcgee:

Its pretty pathetic that he can't just let the shit go after all this time...

Curious - where would you rank Trillium and which firms would you push farther down the ranking. If Trillium moves up, then Group1/Consolidated/TransMarket all move down the list. All these firms are great, and if you are a great trader you will do well at all of them. Many great firms aren't even in that (highly subjective) top 25.

The whole idea behind ranking these firms, or any rankings for that matter, is stupid. I think this is particularly true for trading as your abilities dictate the comp and exit opps that everyone on this site stays up at night worrying about. Saying that if firm A moves up then firm B must move down is ridiculous. There is, just maybe, a case to be made that working at firm A is equal in many respects to working at firm B. The only situation where I can see any of this being even slightlly relevant is if you had offers at all 25 of the firms listed in which case you would be in a position to do whatever the fuck you wanted and it still wouldn't matter.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14
happypantsmcgee:
Trade4Life:
happypantsmcgee:

Its pretty pathetic that he can't just let the shit go after all this time...

Curious - where would you rank Trillium and which firms would you push farther down the ranking. If Trillium moves up, then Group1/Consolidated/TransMarket all move down the list. All these firms are great, and if you are a great trader you will do well at all of them. Many great firms aren't even in that (highly subjective) top 25.

The whole idea behind ranking these firms, or any rankings for that matter, is stupid. I think this is particularly true for trading as your abilities dictate the comp and exit opps that everyone on this site stays up at night worrying about. Saying that if firm A moves up then firm B must move down is ridiculous. There is, just maybe, a case to be made that working at firm A is equal in many respects to working at firm B. The only situation where I can see any of this being even slightlly relevant is if you had offers at all 25 of the firms listed in which case you would be in a position to do whatever the fuck you wanted and it still wouldn't matter.

Disagree.

Bottom line, it's easier to make 7 figures at Getco than Allston Trading even though Allston pays very well.

10/13/14

Then when you get offers at Getco and Allston you will have a pretty easy decision to make won't you? Godspeed

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14

lol you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, T4L....

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

lol you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, T4L....

Care to clarify why you say that?

10/13/14
Trade4Life:
Jerome Marrow:

lol you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, T4L....

Care to clarify why you say that?

Pretty much everything you have said in this thread is either irrelevant, wrong, or misguided. Your last post was icing on the cake.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:
Trade4Life:
Jerome Marrow:

lol you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, T4L....

Care to clarify why you say that?

Pretty much everything you have said in this thread is either irrelevant, wrong, or misguided. Your last post was icing on the cake.

Your opinion is that Allston is more lucrative than Getco? I can think of one or two people who turned down very lucrative offers at Allston for Getco.

Also......you didn't know what division was...

10/13/14
Trade4Life:

Your opinion is that Allston is more lucrative than Getco? I can think of one or two people who turned down very lucrative offers at Allston for Getco.

Also......you didn't know what division was...

Who says either one is more lucrative than the other? And if they are in 'different divisions', why the fuck are you comparing apples and oranges? In fact, who says they are even trading the same things and have similar enough employee pools to make this relevant?

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

lol you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, T4L....

Thanks for clarifying who that was addressed to

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14

Here are links to descriptions of 200 prop trading firms with firm descriptions and links:
http://leverageacademy.com/blog/2009/11/10/181/

10/13/14
BankingRUs9:

Here are links to descriptions of 200 prop trading firms with firm descriptions and links:
http://leverageacademy.com/blog/2009/11/10/181/

Thanks. I've seen that list before.

The problem is it's not very selective - many of those firms pay no base salary or have very substandard comp, although I'm sure there are some on there that pay well that I'm not familiar with.

Also that list has TONS of scams/chop shops like LYNX Capital, and omits a few goods ones like Five Rings.

10/13/14

it is hard to rank companies because most people work at only one of these places.

that being said, a lot of the comments on this thread are horribly wrong / based on incomplete information.

that being said, most of these companies have different business models. that being said, get a job at these places first and then decide which one is better for you.

10/13/14
Zalfor:

it is hard to rank companies because most people work at only one of these places.

that being said, a lot of the comments on this thread are horribly wrong / based on incomplete information.

that being said, most of these companies have different business models. that being said, get a job at these places first and then decide which one is better for you.

that being said, you say that being said a lot....haha no but seriously you made some good points.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14
Zalfor:

it is hard to rank companies because most people work at only one of these places.

that being said, a lot of the comments on this thread are horribly wrong / based on incomplete information.

that being said, most of these companies have different business models. that being said, get a job at these places first and then decide which one is better for you.

True, but you don't have to work have to work at a place to know something about it. For example, I've worked at or interviewed with a dozen of those 25 firms, and have friends/acquaintances at about as many.

10/13/14

five rings capital is a great company started by an ex-jsc partner which does some carbon credit trading. definitely deserves a good spot.

10/13/14

in terms of helping out a college student making choices in terms of which places to apply for, i would definitely recommend applying to any/ALL of these firms and trying to get jobs and then deciding based on your personal experiences with each of these firms.

i have also had good experiences with belvedere trading like other people have said on this thread. but I definitely don't know about a lot of the companies on that other person's list, so I don't know if it should be on the "top 25"

As some advice for people who are still in college, trading is VERY PERSONALIZED. Don't choose a firm based on "perceived comp" or "prestige", but rather based on how well you think you will perform/thrive in a particular firm's environment. I know people who have turned down Getco for chopper trading and people who are thriving at less "prestige" places while they would not have done well at "better" places. Trading is much more individualized than other industries, so don't let these rankings influence your decision too much.

I think the list is fun, but don't let it hurt anyone's ego since no one cares about where you work when you're making millions. =)

10/13/14

Ooh! Ooh! Hire me! Over here! I want to make millions! :P

10/13/14

Good points Zalfor. I forgot about Belvedere and Chopper.

10/13/14

IMO, FRC (five rings) shouldn't be so high since it so new. but I don't know much about their operations... they do pay well though. =)

Citadel should be on here somewhere... even though its a HF

10/13/14

Mean and median earnings don't have value in selecting or rating trading firms for undergrads, so it is valueless. Besides that, the data isn't even available and the sample sizes would be too small and varied in population to be statistically significant.

10/13/14

great job on the list! huge contribution. you do understand that salaries at all of these places really only matter your first couple of years dont you? you dont get payed just for showing up like bankers do, you get paid for p&l. If you are printing $ you get paid regardless of the level of "prestige" at the firm you are working at. Once youve gotten a book and established yourself, nobody cares where you worked previously or even where you went to college. the FIRST thing we discuss when we look at experienced hires is "what's his track record?" Not "Did he work at JSC or DE Shaw (everyone get wet)?" Quit getting so hung up on these stupid rankings and either a) go work hard to get in to ANY of these places or b) if you are there, work hard to make $ and make yourself valuable. thats all that matters

10/13/14
PnL:

great job on the list! huge contribution. you do understand that salaries at all of these places really only matter your first couple of years dont you? you dont get payed just for showing up like bankers do, you get paid for p&l. If you are printing $ you get paid regardless of the level of "prestige" at the firm you are working at. Once youve gotten a book and established yourself, nobody cares where you worked previously or even where you went to college. the FIRST thing we discuss when we look at experienced hires is "what's his track record?" Not "Did he work at JSC or DE Shaw (everyone get wet)?" Quit getting so hung up on these stupid rankings and either a) go work hard to get in to ANY of these places or b) if you are there, work hard to make $ and make yourself valuable. thats all that matters

In some of the top prop shops mentioned above, you ARE payed for just showing up. Even more so than bankers.

If you're getting an entry level job straight from college, then some companies are definitely better than others, depending on base pay and the level of training that you will receive.

10/13/14

yeah was gonna say if you can print the money anywhere in the end it doesnt matter-- each shop will orient you more to a specific type of trading though depending on whatever group you get into.

10/13/14

The best shop is the one that hires me. So if you guys want to be at the top of my list PM an interview!

/That might be just crazy enough to work.....:P

10/13/14

Trade4Life, would you care to elaborate what the speculative/fundamental shops are? Do any of these shops focus more on trends and long-term stuff and require a less quantitative background?

10/13/14
GoodBread:

Trade4Life, would you care to elaborate what the speculative/fundamental shops are? Do any of these shops focus more on trends and long-term stuff and require a less quantitative background?

Trillium, FNYS fit the bill.

10/13/14

so how do you go from just getting an offer to becoming a professor with a mastery of knowing which prop shops do what? and i think the 'speculative/fundamental' needs a more detailed description as to what means by that.

10/13/14
shorttheworld:

so how do you go from just getting an offer to becoming a professor with a mastery of knowing which prop shops do what? and i think the 'speculative/fundamental' needs a more detailed description as to what means by that.

Discretionary trading of any product. Separate from market making, algorithmic trading.

10/13/14

trade4life aka thisdude can you please just shut up and stop digging yourself into an even bigger hole. You have never traded a day in your life yet your coming off like a elitist know it all. Do you even have an offer yet? I would not want to be the guy sitting next to you.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14
trade4size:

trade4life aka thisdude can you please just shut up and stop digging yourself into an even bigger hole. You have never traded a day in your life yet your coming off like a elitist know it all. Do you even have an offer yet? I would not want to be the guy sitting next to you.

What the hell are you talking about...

10/13/14

sitting next to him in his college classes?

10/13/14

LMAO bwahahaha thats hilarious PnL.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14

hey i have a question ok you start out with base capital ... at the end of the year how much on average do prop traders increase there capital assume if they didn't get paid until end of the year

10/13/14

I think the top quant kids at the elite colleges who want to work in trading/quant research all gun for the same group of elite firms: DE Shaw, Citadel, Jane Street, Getco, hudson river, jump, tower research, maybe a few others. If they can get offers from all of them, DE Shaw and Citadel would easily be the top 2 choices since they offer awesome compensation, great brand, and routinely get some of the smartest college students in the country.

10/13/14
jjc1122:

I think the top quant kids at the elite colleges who want to work in trading/quant research all gun for the same group of elite firms: DE Shaw, Citadel, Jane Street, Getco, hudson river, jump, tower research, maybe a few others. If they can get offers from all of them, DE Shaw and Citadel would easily be the top 2 choices since they offer awesome compensation, great brand, and routinely get some of the smartest college students in the country.

a few others being AQR, Two Sigma, and some of the top prop shops (DRW/SIG/Optiver/IMC)?

10/13/14
theprestige:
jjc1122:

I think the top quant kids at the elite colleges who want to work in trading/quant research all gun for the same group of elite firms: DE Shaw, Citadel, Jane Street, Getco, hudson river, jump, tower research, maybe a few others. If they can get offers from all of them, DE Shaw and Citadel would easily be the top 2 choices since they offer awesome compensation, great brand, and routinely get some of the smartest college students in the country.

a few others being AQR, Two Sigma, and some of the top prop shops (DRW/SIG/Optiver/IMC)?

AQR and Two Sigma definitely. I personally don't consider the other prop firms to be in the same category as DE Shaw/Citadel/aqr/two sigma. They're awesome places, no doubt, but the quality of people they hire is on a different level. The people i knew who worked at the firms i listed were math/CS geniuses from MIT, harvard, stanford, etc. One of my good friends was the #1 CS student at MIT undergrad, worked at microsoft for a few years, then D.E. Shaw. He left to launch a startup, but it didn't work out, so now he's at two sigma. I once asked him if he was the smartest guy at D.E. Shaw, and he laughed and said, "to be honest, i would say i was about average. the people there were just scary."

10/13/14

AQR and Two Sigma definitely. I personally don't consider the other prop firms to be in the same category as DE Shaw/Citadel/aqr/two sigma. They're awesome places, no doubt, but the quality of people they hire is on a different level. The people i knew who worked at the firms i listed were math/CS geniuses from MIT, harvard, stanford, etc. One of my good friends was the #1 CS student at MIT undergrad, worked at microsoft for a few years, then D.E. Shaw. He left to launch a startup, but it didn't work out, so now he's at two sigma. I once asked him if he was the smartest guy at D.E. Shaw, and he laughed and said, "to be honest, i would say i was about average. the people there were just scary."

to be honest ur friend's resume before D.E.Shaw was not very impressive.

10/13/14
lingua_franca:

AQR and Two Sigma definitely. I personally don't consider the other prop firms to be in the same category as DE Shaw/Citadel/aqr/two sigma. They're awesome places, no doubt, but the quality of people they hire is on a different level. The people i knew who worked at the firms i listed were math/CS geniuses from MIT, harvard, stanford, etc. One of my good friends was the #1 CS student at MIT undergrad, worked at microsoft for a few years, then D.E. Shaw. He left to launch a startup, but it didn't work out, so now he's at two sigma. I once asked him if he was the smartest guy at D.E. Shaw, and he laughed and said, "to be honest, i would say i was about average. the people there were just scary."

to be honest ur friend's resume before D.E.Shaw was not very impressive.

Yea man, number one comp sci major at MIT and a stint at Microsoft? What a dumbass

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14

Whats wrong with Microsoft? This country needs more people with new ideating being innovative and less people in finance if we want to continue to thrive in the long run. Its not a good sign when everyone runs to the same exit which in this case is banking/trading.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14

I have a bunch of friends at Microsoft. It's a nice place but from a financial perspective you can earn a lot more as a quantitative research analyst with the same skill-set at Two Sigma.

10/13/14

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

10/13/14
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

10/13/14
absinthe:
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

In terms of selectivity, Getco is the toughest prop firm to get into (i'm not including quant hedge funds like DE Shaw, Citadel, aqr, two sigma).

compensation, who knows. I know a guy who made $300K including bonus at Optiver his first year out of college. and a few guys at jump who were making $500K/year in their mid-late 20's. but it really depends on the person, group, how well the firm is doing, etc. Getco supposedly has insane compensation, but it's all hearsay.

10/13/14
absinthe:
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

This list is useless. I know that you put a lot of effort into it, and it might help someone make a good choice in their career. But the manager interviewing you wants to know what kind of profits you will generate compared to the average. Think like a trader. The best trader I know, personally, was a head trader at one of the firms you have listed somewhere at the top and is now the head trader at one of the firms listed near the bottom of this list. And you have never heard of the guy- guaranteed. But would he hire you? If you go in worried about making at least the average comp, measured on a per hour basis compared to other prestigious firms....he will have left the room before you can finish the sentence.

10/13/14
absinthe:
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

This list is useless. I know that you put a lot of effort into it, and it might help someone make a good choice in their career. But the manager interviewing you wants to know what kind of profits you will generate compared to the average. Think like a trader. The best trader I know, personally, was a head trader at one of the firms you have listed somewhere at the top and is now the head trader at one of the firms listed near the bottom of this list. And you have never heard of the guy- guaranteed. But would he hire you? If you go in worried about making at least the average comp, measured on a per hour basis compared to other prestigious firms....he will have left the room before you can finish the sentence.

10/13/14
Gomez Addams:
absinthe:
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

This list is useless. I know that you put a lot of effort into it, and it might help someone make a good choice in their career. But the manager interviewing you wants to know what kind of profits you will generate compared to the average. Think like a trader. The best trader I know, personally, was a head trader at one of the firms you have listed somewhere at the top and is now the head trader at one of the firms listed near the bottom of this list. And you have never heard of the guy- guaranteed. But would he hire you? If you go in worried about making at least the average comp, measured on a per hour basis compared to other prestigious firms....he will have left the room before you can finish the sentence.

It's not useless. It's just.....look it's a dumb bar napkin approach to figuring out where to apply. No one should put a whole lot of belief in it, just apply to everything on the list if you want to get into trading. That's what I think anyway.

10/13/14
monkeysama:
Gomez Addams:
absinthe:
GoodBread:

Would it be possible to add a prestige rating to each of these firms, on a scale of 100?

It's basically supposed to be ranked according to perceived comp / prestige, although take that with a grain of salt. You can be reasonably certain that Getco is more prestigious than say Belvedere, but between say Optiver or IMC it's really a wash.

This list is useless. I know that you put a lot of effort into it, and it might help someone make a good choice in their career. But the manager interviewing you wants to know what kind of profits you will generate compared to the average. Think like a trader. The best trader I know, personally, was a head trader at one of the firms you have listed somewhere at the top and is now the head trader at one of the firms listed near the bottom of this list. And you have never heard of the guy- guaranteed. But would he hire you? If you go in worried about making at least the average comp, measured on a per hour basis compared to other prestigious firms....he will have left the room before you can finish the sentence.

It's not useless. It's just.....look it's a dumb bar napkin approach to figuring out where to apply. No one should put a whole lot of belief in it, just apply to everything on the list if you want to get into trading. That's what I think anyway.

I see your point. However, once you have been in the industry for a while, and know what goes on from the inside, trying to rank firms is pointless. Someone mentioned earlier in this thread that it is more about the manager or head trader that you are working under. That is very true, but it is also something that has to be experienced to be appreciated. And if you are looking for your first job in the industry- the firm that hires you is the best firm to work for.

10/13/14

this thread is a joke. Mods please shut it down?

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14

rankers gonna rank

10/13/14

You guys I know I'm jerking you around right? All jokes aside, do any firms stateside focus on commodity or STIR futures? It seems like almost all those firms either do options or scalp equities.

10/13/14
GoodBread:

All jokes aside, do any firms stateside focus on commodity or STIR futures? It seems like almost all those firms either do options or scalp equities.

Bump for this

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

10/13/14
Jorge:
GoodBread:

All jokes aside, do any firms stateside focus on commodity or STIR futures? It seems like almost all those firms either do options or scalp equities.

Bump for this

  1. SIG
  2. DC Energy
  3. Louis Dreyfus Commodities
  4. Trafigura
  5. Consolidated Trading
  6. Constellation Energy
  7. BP energy trading
10/13/14

Thanks.

10/13/14

absinthe, where would you put bank HFT (say goldman) in comparison to the prop firms? My own impression is that I'd probably take the top 3-4 props on that list over goldman, but probably goldman over any of the others. Any idea if that's reasonable?

10/13/14

My firm is the best in the world :) I ranked it number 1 because of the following factors:

It's not on the radar of all the insecure people that only want to trade because they don't know how to impress people with personality.

I focus on making my grass as green as it can be, if your's is greener then well done.

It's taken me in from nothing, and trains me up. I don't care if the pay doesn't make me the richest 25 year old in the world. It's given me the potential to make as much as I can (literally). At the moment I'm learning, and I'm worth nothing. i'm grateful they pay me enough to live a decent life off and see the world.

This thread was destined for fail, as soon as the adjective "best" was used.

Remember the basics of life and money:

Definition of salary/bonus: The least amount of money someone has to pay you to keep you doing the job you do.

The only time you're paid what you're worth is when you run your own show. Until that time you're the statue, not the pigeon.

Net worth when t = birth, 0, when t = death, 0. Would you work in a salt mine in Siberia 14 hours a day for 3 million a year? (I can honestly say I wouldn't). Life is about how you live it. Give me an office full of humans, fun, dark sense of humour and competitive without being backstabby, that treats me for who I am and wants to make the most out of me, over some target hitting "success is etc. etc." insecure kid in a suit that pays me more after he screams at me.

10/13/14
trazer985:

My firm is the best in the world :) I ranked it number 1 because of the following factors:

It's not on the radar of all the insecure people that only want to trade because they don't know how to impress people with personality.

I focus on making my grass as green as it can be, if your's is greener then well done.

It's taken me in from nothing, and trains me up. I don't care if the pay doesn't make me the richest 25 year old in the world. It's given me the potential to make as much as I can (literally). At the moment I'm learning, and I'm worth nothing. i'm grateful they pay me enough to live a decent life off and see the world.

This thread was destined for fail, as soon as the adjective "best" was used.

Remember the basics of life and money:

Definition of salary/bonus: The least amount of money someone has to pay you to keep you doing the job you do.

The only time you're paid what you're worth is when you run your own show. Until that time you're the statue, not the pigeon.

Net worth when t = birth, 0, when t = death, 0. Would you work in a salt mine in Siberia 14 hours a day for 3 million a year? (I can honestly say I wouldn't). Life is about how you live it. Give me an office full of humans, fun, dark sense of humour and competitive without being backstabby, that treats me for who I am and wants to make the most out of me, over some target hitting "success is etc. etc." insecure kid in a suit that pays me more after he screams at me.

Well put.

10/13/14
trazer985:

My firm is the best in the world :) I ranked it number 1 because of the following factors:

It's not on the radar of all the insecure people that only want to trade because they don't know how to impress people with personality.

I focus on making my grass as green as it can be, if your's is greener then well done.

It's taken me in from nothing, and trains me up. I don't care if the pay doesn't make me the richest 25 year old in the world. It's given me the potential to make as much as I can (literally). At the moment I'm learning, and I'm worth nothing. i'm grateful they pay me enough to live a decent life off and see the world.

This thread was destined for fail, as soon as the adjective "best" was used.

Remember the basics of life and money:

Definition of salary/bonus: The least amount of money someone has to pay you to keep you doing the job you do.

The only time you're paid what you're worth is when you run your own show. Until that time you're the statue, not the pigeon.

Net worth when t = birth, 0, when t = death, 0. Would you work in a salt mine in Siberia 14 hours a day for 3 million a year? (I can honestly say I wouldn't). Life is about how you live it. Give me an office full of humans, fun, dark sense of humour and competitive without being backstabby, that treats me for who I am and wants to make the most out of me, over some target hitting "success is etc. etc." insecure kid in a suit that pays me more after he screams at me.

Man, you've changed my perspective on life so much.

Tomorrow, I begin my new life by moving to China and becoming a subsistence farmer.

10/13/14
trazer985:

My firm is the best in the world :) I ranked it number 1 because of the following factors:

It's not on the radar of all the insecure people that only want to trade because they don't know how to impress people with personality.

I focus on making my grass as green as it can be, if your's is greener then well done.

It's taken me in from nothing, and trains me up. I don't care if the pay doesn't make me the richest 25 year old in the world. It's given me the potential to make as much as I can (literally). At the moment I'm learning, and I'm worth nothing. i'm grateful they pay me enough to live a decent life off and see the world.

This thread was destined for fail, as soon as the adjective "best" was used.

Remember the basics of life and money:

Definition of salary/bonus: The least amount of money someone has to pay you to keep you doing the job you do.

The only time you're paid what you're worth is when you run your own show. Until that time you're the statue, not the pigeon.

Net worth when t = birth, 0, when t = death, 0. Would you work in a salt mine in Siberia 14 hours a day for 3 million a year? (I can honestly say I wouldn't). Life is about how you live it. Give me an office full of humans, fun, dark sense of humour and competitive without being backstabby, that treats me for who I am and wants to make the most out of me, over some target hitting "success is etc. etc." insecure kid in a suit that pays me more after he screams at me.

Of course, net worth is only important in the middle, when you're trying to get laid. Poverty is the "fat chicks" of men.

10/13/14

if thats what you genuinely want to do, then do it

10/13/14

ZINNNGGG!

Seriously, most quality prop shops in Chicago pay pretty good money. Don't think Jump or Getco would be that different.

10/13/14

From personal sources, I know both Jump and Getco pay ridiculously well. Better than SIG/Optiver/DRW/IMC, actually. In fact, at the entry level they probably pay more than JSC, although at the higher levels I'm sure JSC pays more on average than Jump.

10/13/14

This thread is retarded on so many levels. Absinthe I find it funny how you never have anything to add about any of the things going on in the market all you are concerned with is minor firm differences. You probably lucked into your position because you knew how to answer some brainteasers and went to a good school. BIG DEAL. That isnt going to make you a sucessful trader.

Can someone please make this thread disappear?

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

10/13/14
trade4size:

This thread is retarded on so many levels. Absinthe I find it funny how you never have anything to add about any of the things going on in the market all you are concerned with is minor firm differences. You probably lucked into your position because you knew how to answer some brainteasers and went to a good school. BIG DEAL. That isnt going to make you a sucessful trader.

Can someone please make this thread disappear?

A "sucessful" trader?

I wouldn't call having two or three times as much capital per trader minor differences, but whatever.

10/13/14
absinthe:
trade4size:

This thread is retarded on so many levels. Absinthe I find it funny how you never have anything to add about any of the things going on in the market all you are concerned with is minor firm differences. You probably lucked into your position because you knew how to answer some brainteasers and went to a good school. BIG DEAL. That isnt going to make you a sucessful trader.

Can someone please make this thread disappear?

A "sucessful" trader?

I wouldn't call having two or three times as much capital per trader minor differences, but whatever.

Absinthe...Just let the fucking thread die...please. Glad you got a job, go make money, blah blah blah enough

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14
absinthe:
trade4size:

This thread is retarded on so many levels. Absinthe I find it funny how you never have anything to add about any of the things going on in the market all you are concerned with is minor firm differences. You probably lucked into your position because you knew how to answer some brainteasers and went to a good school. BIG DEAL. That isnt going to make you a sucessful trader.

Can someone please make this thread disappear?

A "sucessful" trader?

I wouldn't call having two or three times as much capital per trader minor differences, but whatever.

Like my dad says, everyone wants to be smart and everyone wants a little ass, but no one wants a little smartass.

10/13/14

Let's hope they even recruit at your school because there is a short list of 3-4 schools that compromise the majority of recruiting for those 2 firms. On top of that, there is not going to be any significant difference in compensation, just like at every shop, despite people being unable to get that through their skulls.

10/13/14
Jerome Marrow:

Let's hope they even recruit at your school because there is a short list of 3-4 schools that compromise the majority of recruiting for those 2 firms. On top of that, there is not going to be any significant difference in compensation, just like at every shop, despite people being unable to get that through their skulls.

Jerome, I've got a lot of respect for those firms- and I suspect 90% of the BB options traders I work with kinda wished they worked there, but let's not get too snobby. Illinois and Cal are on the frigging list of those 3-4 schools.:D

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:
Jerome Marrow:

Let's hope they even recruit at your school because there is a short list of 3-4 schools that compromise the majority of recruiting for those 2 firms. On top of that, there is not going to be any significant difference in compensation, just like at every shop, despite people being unable to get that through their skulls.

Jerome, I've got a lot of respect for those firms- and I suspect 90% of the BB options traders I work with kinda wished they worked there, but let's not get too snobby. Illinois and Cal are on the frigging list of those 3-4 schools.:D

absolutely not true

10/13/14
arden:
IlliniProgrammer:
Jerome Marrow:

Let's hope they even recruit at your school because there is a short list of 3-4 schools that compromise the majority of recruiting for those 2 firms. On top of that, there is not going to be any significant difference in compensation, just like at every shop, despite people being unable to get that through their skulls.

Jerome, I've got a lot of respect for those firms- and I suspect 90% of the BB options traders I work with kinda wished they worked there, but let's not get too snobby. Illinois and Cal are on the frigging list of those 3-4 schools.:D

absolutely not true

What is not true? Illinois and Cal are definitely on that list.

10/13/14
arden:

absolutely not true

Absolutely true. Getco has a number of Illinois alumns and their only intern when I was in school was from UIUC. They recruit on-campus as well.

It's not really a big deal. Getco looks for smart programmers and traders wherever the heck it can find them. It's a very, very well-run firm, but it is hardly an exclusive firm. Jump is also the same way. One of my friends in college turned down Jump for Citadel, but I know that a number of other Illinois grads took offers there.

Oh well, what the hell do I know. I'm just the guy that has to compete with them on a daily basis...

10/13/14

this thread gives me an aneurysm and makes me want to hunt half of you down on this thread and murder both you and your families

10/13/14
shorttheworld:

this thread gives me an aneurysm and makes me want to hunt half of you down on this thread and murder both you and your families

Whatever dude, its not like you're an expert on prop firms...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

10/13/14

I don't know why everyone is making such a big deal about these rankings, but then again, I'm new to the whole scene so Sig's list is really helpful.

there are so many sketchy trading firms out there that having a solid list of companies you know you can apply to and won't get screwed is really helpful.

thanks

10/13/14
cashnhonies:

I don't know why everyone is making such a big deal about these rankings, but then again, I'm new to the whole scene so Sig's list is really helpful.

there are so many sketchy trading firms out there that having a solid list of companies you know you can apply to and won't get screwed is really helpful.

thanks

I think people are more having an issue with an ordered list that isn't really based on anything, filled with inaccuracies, and written by somebody that hasn't worked at any of those firms. The variance in trading styles, markets, payout/compensation structures, training periods, individuals desks, etc. are all so varied that makes it impossible to have a list with any legitimacy.Remember too that the best trading firm =/= the best trading firm for a trader. A large bureaucratic firm that makes up an extremely large % of the marketplace won't necessarily be the place where an individual trader can make a lot of money his/her first few years out of college.

There also aren't that many 'sketchy' firms (at least, not any more sketchy than any prop firm in general). If you have a contract and they pay you a salary, it is going to be as real as it gets.

10/13/14

maybe back in the day when it was getting started they hired people from nearby schools, but Getco does not recruit from schools like uiuc anymore

and even if they did it's highly unlikely (although obviously possible) that they would find anyone who could make the cut there nowadays

10/13/14
arden:

maybe back in the day when it was getting started they hired people from nearby schools, but Getco does not recruit from schools like uiuc anymore

and even if they did it's highly unlikely (although obviously possible) that they would find anyone who could make the cut there nowadays

I disagree. Getco's own CEO went to a small school that has zero credibility and is definitely not on anyone's radar. Getco doesn't recruit on a lot of campuses because they have a different recruiting model then most other firms, not because of a perceived lack of talent at a particular school.

10/13/14

I dunno. It's kinda like joining a private club- or in this case, maybe more like joining a nerdy D&D group. If you have to ask how to join, you're probably not a good fit. That's not to say anything about your skills or intellect as an individual or to say that these firms are too prestigious for you- they're not. But it's just a quirky culture that you're probably not going to be happy in- and they probably won't be happy with you in- if prestige is what you're really aiming for. That's why I'm steering you towards DRW and Jane Street instead.

I'd recommend going ahead and interviewing with them and being yourself- and if you don't get the offer, don't sweat it too much. It's not about you, it's about their culture.

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

I dunno. It's kinda like joining a private club- or in this case, maybe more like joining a nerdy D&D group. If you have to ask how to join, you're probably not a good fit. That's not to say anything about your skills or intellect as an individual or to say that these firms are too prestigious for you- they're not. But it's just a quirky culture that you're probably not going to be happy in- and they probably won't be happy with you in- if prestige is what you're really aiming for. That's why I'm steering you towards DRW and Jane Street instead.

I'd recommend going ahead and interviewing with them and being yourself- and if you don't get the offer, don't sweat it too much. It's not about you, it's about their culture.

Well said. Definitely, go for it.

10/13/14

Getco is not really the top shop. It certainly doesn't want to be seen that way, and probably isn't going to take people who are driven to work at a top shop. If you want a top shop, look at DRW and JSC. IMHO, DRW is up with JSC, too.

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

Getco is not really the top shop. It certainly doesn't want to be seen that way, and probably isn't going to take people who are driven to work at a top shop. If you want a top shop, look at DRW and JSC. IMHO, DRW is up with JSC, too.

i don't really know what basis you could possibly have for saying this

10/13/14

The fact that I know two senior partners and a number of employees. Also the fact that while everyone else was afraid of their black security vans and utter secrecy, I was one of the folks who got them on the map on this forum.

They're brilliant guys, but they hardly have the feel of a prestigious prop shop. If you have this burning desire to work at a top prop shop, you do not really belong at Getco on a cultural basis. It's going to be nearly impossible to fool Bob Schuler, and even if you do, it just won't work out all that well for you or them. So you belong at DRW or JSC if you really want to be a hotshot prop trader.

The firm takes "Innovation, not ego" very seriously.

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

The fact that I know two senior partners and a number of employees.

They're brilliant guys, but they hardly have the feel of a prestigious prop shop. If you have this urgent desire to work at a top prop shop, you do not really belong at Getco on a cultural basis. You belong at DRW or JSC.

The firm takes "Innovation, not ego" very seriously.

still don't know what basis you have for claiming that it's not a/the top shop, regardless of the "low ego" feel you got from the firm. they extend offers only to the most brilliant people, get almost all of them (including most people who had Jane Street sa stints), and their pay is astronomical, higher than Jane Street, drw, Citadel, or any bank at the junior level

10/13/14
arden:

still don't know what basis you have for claiming that it's not a/the top shop, regardless of the "low ego" feel you got from the firm. they extend offers only to the most brilliant people,

Not necessarily. There's actually a strong preference for cultural fit. If you've got a 220 IQ, but you're not a good cultural fit, you're not getting an offer. And if you're seeking an offer from Getco because they're a top prop shop and not for the reasons they're looking for, you're probably not going to get an offer.

get almost all of them (including most people who had Jane Street sa stints), and their pay is astronomical, higher than Jane Street, drw, Citadel, or any bank at the junior level

I used a little hyperbole in describing some of the pay to get folks off of their latest obsessions with prestige. Sure, Getco pays well, but the reason they've got such a good record at collecting good traders is that generally, these guys aren't a good fit at- and wouldn't be happy- anywhere else.

People who would do well at Getco would probably not do quite as well at other prop shops or hedge funds. The culture works well for the folks who land there- that's why they choose it- not because Getco is a cool prestigious shop. If trading is the greek system, Getco is like the tri-lambdas from revenge of the nerds who discovered a different system of winning. So if you are the typical college kid who wants to join a prestigious fraternity, you'd probably do better to find a good cultural fit. If you're a social outcast of the trading world, however, Getco might just be the firm for you to accidentally land in.

College kids just don't get it. The best way to actually get prestige is to actively avoid seeking it- if you're a relatively intelligent person who does that, you're essentially bound to stumble on it.

10/13/14
arden:
IlliniProgrammer:

The fact that I know two senior partners and a number of employees.

They're brilliant guys, but they hardly have the feel of a prestigious prop shop. If you have this urgent desire to work at a top prop shop, you do not really belong at Getco on a cultural basis. You belong at DRW or JSC.

The firm takes "Innovation, not ego" very seriously.

still don't know what basis you have for claiming that it's not a/the top shop, regardless of the "low ego" feel you got from the firm. they extend offers only to the most brilliant people, get almost all of them (including most people who had Jane Street sa stints), and their pay is astronomical, higher than Jane Street, drw, Citadel, or any bank at the junior level

Citadel guys definitely make more than Getco. Can't speak for the other firms.

10/13/14

fan of SIG..people who have worked there told me its still run by the people who started it up and very good for a junior person to get exposure.

10/13/14

I don't know where everyone gets their information, but coming straight out of college, I haven't heard of anywhere that pays anywhere near what Getco pays. I've only heard this from 2 individuals, however, who have started (or are starting) in the last few years. The range I've heard is close to 2x what other prop firms pay, and these guys have to be close to the best info you can get. I also wasn't given a particular number but rather a range and I find it pretty believable overall.

10/13/14

What would other top notch companies be for traders other than prop shops?

10/13/14

yeah, brady4mvp is wrong. Getco employees make way more coming out of college than Citadel traders. way down the road, who knows (lot of survivorship bias at Citadel though, since they fire like 3/4 of their employees each week)

10/13/14

It should be pointed out that this thread only includes firms that have been established for a while. There are a few new, very elite firms out there, such as Teza and Headlands, which no one really knows anything about. It wouldn't surprise me though if they do as well as or even better than Getco/JSC on a per-person basis. Also, is Knight considered a prop firm? If it is, then it should definitely be near the top of the rankings.

10/13/14
anontrader:

It should be pointed out that this thread only includes firms that have been established for a while. There are a few new, very elite firms out there, such as Teza and Headlands, which no one really knows anything about. It wouldn't surprise me though if they do as well as or even better than Getco/JSC on a per-person basis. Also, is Knight considered a prop firm? If it is, then it should definitely be near the top of the rankings.

I interviewed with Headlands a few months ago. They're new but a top-notch firm. Founded by ex-Citadel partners.

10/13/14

I'm still curious where you guys would put algo trading at a top BB compared to these places. I'd probably put it after Getco, JSC, HRT, and maybe Jump, but above DRW, IMC, SIG, etc.

10/13/14
anontrader:

I'm still curious where you guys would put algo trading at a top BB compared to these places. I'd probably put it after Getco, JSC, HRT, and maybe Jump, but above DRW, IMC, SIG, etc.

It's a bit of an odd comparison because DRW, IMC, SIG don't do much algorithmic trading (Yes, I realize that comparing firms with different business models was the main criticism of the ranking I had on p.1). If you compare DRW, SIG to S&T at a top BB (say GS or CS FI) personally I'd take DRW, SIG and I think most people who want to be traders would as well. If you want to do algorithmic trading, though, you would probably be better of at a BB or Jump/HRT, although DRW definitely hires algorithmic traders. If you like programming in C++ that's a great career choice, but some people hate it or are terrible at it.

@Illi, It's wrong to say that a 15 year old could compete with Getco. They have their servers right next to exchanges and make huge capital investments in technology that a 15 year old couldn't. Economies of scale are crucial here.

10/13/14
anontrader:

I'm still curious where you guys would put algo trading at a top BB compared to these places. I'd probably put it after Getco, JSC, HRT, and maybe Jump, but above DRW, IMC, SIG, etc.

It's a bit of an odd comparison because DRW, IMC, SIG don't do much algorithmic trading (Yes, I realize that comparing firms with different business models was the main criticism of the ranking I had on p.1. By the way, Wolve should be way higher than what I listed, say #8, bumping Optiver down to #11 after Tower). If you compare DRW, SIG to S&T at a top BB (say GS or CS FI) personally I'd take DRW, SIG and I think most people who want to be traders would as well. If you want to do algorithmic trading, though, you would probably be better of at a BB or Jump/HRT, although DRW definitely hires algorithmic traders. If you like programming in C++ that's a great career choice, but some people hate it or are terrible at it.

@Illi, It's wrong to say that a 15 year old could compete with Getco. They have their servers right next to exchanges and make huge capital investments in technology that a 15 year old couldn't make.

10/13/14
absinthe:

@Illi, It's wrong to say that a 15 year old could compete with Getco. They have their servers right next to exchanges and make huge capital investments in technology that a 15 year old couldn't make.

Maybe, maybe not. It also depends on the ability to handle large volumes of info. If some 15 year old figures out a way to cache economic data like nobody's business and builds it into their MLP pricing algorithm, Getco will be out of business tomorrow. You need more than just a good market-making algorithm to make money these days. You need to be able to automatically make adjustments for economic data.

And, if you really want to go up against Getco, it costs $60/month:
http://www.fdcservers.net/dedicated_servers.php

There's a datacenter in the CBOT/CBOE building that will lease servers to just about anybody. It's probably no more than 500 feet of wire from the exchange gateway. An electric signal can travel a lot more than 500 feet during the time differences between a well-written piece of code and a poorly written one. We're talking about picoseconds here- perhaps- just barely- a microsecond or two of potential advantage over that.

I ran a webhosting business as a 15-year-old kid. Today if I were 15 and I had the ability to use someone's exchange credentials, I'd be running a market-making business with a $60/month server in the CBOE/CBOT. Anybody with exchange credentials can do this- you don't need to be a genius to set it up. What takes genius is being able to code the market-making algo up in a way that shaves a couple dozen microseconds off the time it takes to get to the exchange.

Electronic trading is the purest form of meritocracy. Anybody who can get direct access to the exchange and has $60/month can go up against Getco on a nearly level playing field- only off by a couple hundred picoseconds- the time for maybe- just maybe- one extra multiplication to pass through the ALU. This kind of a cost is something that gets overlooked by your compiler if you are working in a high-level programming language. I'm very well aware of Getco's technology, and it's not that hard to beat them to market with a 500 light-foot handicap if you're really good at what you do. Not saying I'm that person- just saying there's a lot of brilliant people out there and anyone with a few programming courses under their belt who had a very, very general awareness of very simply the technologies Getco recruits would know how it could be done.

Getco's economic moat is- at best- 500 light feet. In two or three years, they might be going up against some 15-year-old kid with Asperger's in Louisiana who is spending his $90/month lawnmowing money to get DMA from Rosenthal Collins and rent a server in the CBOT building. Between a firm that gets complacent and a kid with asperger's who knows how to code, in the algorithmic trading world at least, my money's on the kid with asperger's.

10/13/14
IlliniProgrammer:

Getco's economic moat is- at best- 500 light feet. In two or three years, they might be going up against some 15-year-old kid with Asperger's in Louisiana who is spending his $90/month lawnmowing money to get DMA from Rosenthal Collins and rent a server in the CBOT building. Between a firm that gets complacent and a kid with asperger's who knows how to code, in the algorithmic trading world at least, my money's on the kid with asperger's.

Allston has been claiming they have Getco beat. Confirm/Deny?

10/13/14
Khalil:
IlliniProgrammer:

Getco's economic moat is- at best- 500 light feet. In two or three years, they might be going up against some 15-year-old kid with Asperger's in Louisiana who is spending his $90/month lawnmowing money to get DMA from Rosenthal Collins and rent a server in the CBOT building. Between a firm that gets complacent and a kid with asperger's who knows how to code, in the algorithmic trading world at least, my money's on the kid with asperger's.

Allston has been claiming they have Getco beat. Confirm/Deny?

This is laughable. No way Allston is beating Getco. They definitely hired a lot of people, but most of them are not too happy with their compensation.

10/13/14
absinthe:

It's a bit of an odd comparison because DRW, IMC, SIG don't do much algorithmic trading (Yes, I realize that comparing firms with different business models was the main criticism of the ranking I had on p.1. By the way, Wolve should be way higher than what I listed, say #8, bumping Optiver down to #11 after Tower). If you compare DRW, SIG to S&T at a top BB (say GS or CS FI) personally I'd take DRW, SIG and I think most people who want to be traders would as well. If you want to do algorithmic trading, though, you would probably be better of at a BB or Jump/HRT, although DRW definitely hires algorithmic traders. If you like programming in C++ that's a great career choice, but some people hate it or are terrible at it.

I don't know where you get your information, but DRW and IMC both definitely do a lot of algorithmic trading. Just because you're doing algo trading doesn't mean you have to know how to code, either. I don't know where you're getting this from. Look at these company's job openings, for the traders they never ask for technical or computer science skills.

10/13/14
7toaster:
absinthe:

It's a bit of an odd comparison because DRW, IMC, SIG don't do much algorithmic trading (Yes, I realize that comparing firms with different business models was the main criticism of the ranking I had on p.1. By the way, Wolve should be way higher than what I listed, say #8, bumping Optiver down to #11 after Tower). If you compare DRW, SIG to S&T at a top BB (say GS or CS FI) personally I'd take DRW, SIG and I think most people who want to be traders would as well. If you want to do algorithmic trading, though, you would probably be better of at a BB or Jump/HRT, although DRW definitely hires algorithmic traders. If you like programming in C++ that's a great career choice, but some people hate it or are terrible at it.

I don't know where you get your information, but DRW and IMC both definitely do a lot of algorithmic trading. Just because you're doing algo trading doesn't mean you have to know how to code, either. I don't know where you're getting this from. Look at these company's job openings, for the traders they never ask for technical or computer science skills.

For jobs that specify high frequency or algorithmic traders, yes, you need to know programming. If you don't know programming, what value can you add to algorithmic trading? Every job posting I've seen confirms this.

10/13/14
Brady4MVP:

For jobs that specify high frequency or algorithmic traders, yes, you need to know programming. If you don't know programming, what value can you add to algorithmic trading? Every job posting I've seen confirms this.

So you're implying that a world-class programmer specialist at Microsoft or Google can just do high-frequency trading by himself, without outside guidance? There is much more to HFT and algo-trading than just coding skills. A specialist in comp sci can't do it alone. He needs a team of people from various backgrounds. He needs support, from quants and traders. A compsci specialist doesn't know WHAT to do, only HOW to do it.

If you pair together the best quanty/astrophysicist/finance person with zero CS knowledge with the leetest CS hacker/developer specialist with zero finance knowledge, you will have an unstoppable team. They will kick the shit out of a mediocre jack-of-all-trades master-of-none quant/trader/developer person.

Does what I'm saying make sense? In an assembly line you have specialists who focus and master their one specialty. Henry Ford knew what he was doing when he started the assembly line, it should be a no-brainer now.

10/13/14
7toaster:

So you're implying that a world-class programmer specialist at Microsoft or Google can just do high-frequency trading by himself, without outside guidance?

For someone driven, absolutely. The tech skills are the difficult part to pick up- if you can beat Getco to market, it's pretty darned hard to lose money for more than a few months.

There is much more to HFT and algo-trading than just coding skills. A specialist in comp sci can't do it alone.

Absolutely, but you can't really help HFT unless you have the technical background to speak the language. Again, this gets back to some sort of foundation in imperative programming, data structures, numerical methods, and algorithms. It doesn't necessarily have to come from a CS or Comp E degree, but nearly all of our algo traders have an exceptional background in programming that transcends mere models in R or Matlab.

He needs a team of people from various backgrounds. He needs support, from quants and traders. A compsci specialist doesn't know WHAT to do, only HOW to do it.

Well, he is a trader- or a quant. You have a team of CS and Comp. E majors get together and that's really all you need. Some focus on the architecture, some focus on the execution, some focus on the model. It's been a self-perpetuating cycle for ten years in most parts of the equities markets.

If you pair together the best quanty/astrophysicist/finance person with zero CS knowledge with the leetest CS hacker/developer specialist with zero finance knowledge, you will have an unstoppable team.

No, because you're going to lose money for the first six months.

They will kick the shit out of a mediocre jack-of-all-trades master-of-none quant/trader/developer person.

But not an elite architect, execution master, and numerical methods guy. The system really does revolve around CS majors and Computer Engineers- everybody needs to be able to speak the language, just like in Broker Dealerage. The difference is that the language is much more complicated and technical in algorithmic trading. There's also a lot more info getting compressed into a single conversation- even than in a quantitative group. Half the time, you have to go to a whiteboard to go over everything.

Does what I'm saying make sense? In an assembly line you have specialists who focus and master their one specialty. Henry Ford knew what he was doing when he started the assembly line, it should be a no-brainer now.

I think that in the well-managed groups, you find it acting a little more like a ganglia than a one-direction assembly line. There's a lot of ideas bouncing off each other and creating new ones and an interaction of them. My experience has been that the culture looks very similar to maybe not a large tech firm like Microsoft but certainly a tech start-up with a bunch of programmers- just ones that are maybe one standard deviation more aggressive than your typical technologists- bouncing architectures and ideas off each other.

10/13/14

I dunno. The BBs do have a bit of a comparative information advantage having a lot more business under one roof if you are making markets. There's also a lot more compliance to work around. It's hard to give a concrete answer on BBs vs. prop shops.

Find a place where you could enjoy working with your interviewers. Remember, this is trading, not banking. Any 15 year old kid in a garage can beat you at this if he's better than you. Likewise, you can beat Getco at their own game out of your basement if you're brilliant and you've got a good enough strategy. There's really no room for prestige and smuggery in trading.