Why is trading in Europe so localised?

Hello everybody,

I am a European and I am looking for trading or quant positions in Europe. I know that in general there are two kind of firms that offer these kind of careers, buy-side(hedge funds/prop shops/HFTs) and sell-side (banks).

Buy-side is in general a niche field, thus it is reasonable that it is very localised (pretty much all firms are in London or Amsterdam, correct me if I am wrong). However, I always thought that sell-side trading is pretty much everywhere, in every country. At the end of the day, in every country there is need for people to trade in the stock market or with OTC products. 

The reality I see though is different. Even in the sell-side, roles are mainly in UK and Netherlands (and maybe Paris). Even in big developed countries like Germany, Austria, even Switzerland or the Nordics,  the quant/trading fields are restricted to Credit Risk or commodities (energy) trading. 

So my questions are:

-Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I am looking on the wrong sites (e.g. Linkedin)..

  • If I am not wrong, then why? Is it because of non-friendly regulations the aforementioned countries towards trading? Or something else?

Clarification: when I say quant/trading fields, I mean trading, pricing and/or trading-support risk(e.g. counterparty credit risk/market risk of the trading book).

Most Helpful

I'm not an expert on EU markets but I understand EU financial regulations are intentionally harmonized under MIFID to create something resembling a single country market which which allows one EU office to trade all the EU countries. Many European stock exchanges are also now part of Euronext or Nasdaq Nordic and trading and especially quant trading rely much less on language/cultural/familiarity and more on math and microstructure factors. Not directly relevant to your question about the distribution within Europe but European equity markets are not huge or usually super active which probably puts some downward pressure on the total number of roles as well.


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