BB Structured Credit Trading vs HF Quant (non research)

Hi Guys,

Currently a sell-side quant (very bored with his job), I have been quite lucky to get two offers: one as a structured credit trader at my bank (top BB), the other as quant dev (so not researcher, at a good but non-top HF) with the promise of being able to transition to quant research in 2-3 years time if performance in the role is good. How would you guys assess these two opportunities?

The way I see it:

  • HF quant: 
    • PRO: more technical/potentially more interesting. Less likely to end up unemployed as coding skills will always get you a job. I like programming.
    • CONS: more difficult. I am decently good at maths but definitely not good enough (nor passionate about it enough) to do a STEM PhD. I wasn't one of the smartest in my class, I got good grades because I studied. So although there is a clear  path to becoming researcher in this fund from the quant dev role, I am not sure I would be able to complete against top PhDs / do well enough on the job. I also didn't really like the firm vibe as I am a quite social person and everyone was super quiet/nerdy.
  • BB Trading:
    • PRO: the team is super nice and i definitely fit much better within the culture of the trading floor than of a quant fund in my opinion.There is a lot of potential for client interaction, which i would also like as I think it makes the work more varied. I think with effort I could be reasonably good at this job. 
    • CONS: less technical (and arguably less interesting under some POVs) work, very little maths/coding. 

I am more inclined towards the trading role as it seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it would be a shame to not at least try it out (as it's almost impossible to get into s&t after uni), whereas recruiters constantly reach out for HF quant roles and I was thinking that I could do trading for 1y, keep my coding/maths sharp and then in a year time reassess and if I am not liking trading, just apply again for HF quant roles.

How would 1.5y quant + 1y trading experience at top BB look like for HF quant roles? Now I am not too competitive for HF quant researcher roles as they are mostly taken by PhDs: would doing 1y of trading make me more appealing to recruiters? How many funds/AMs are active in the systematic fixed income space?

What do you think in terms of earning potential? (the offers have same base, but I think bonus at the BB would be more). I think quant researchers in HFs cap out at around 500k £/yr which is more or less the same as VPs on good S^T desks, but I know directors in the 700-1mio range (and to me it looks like it requires much less hard skills to get there than to become a top quant/PM in a systematic fund). 

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