Moving Back into Trading from FAANG

Was a quant researcher. Left my previous fund after 5 years, for a research scientist position in one of the FAANGs working on machine-learning related research. It has been about 3 years now and with all the exciting happenings in the market last year, I am beginning to miss the industry. Looking to move back into trading now.

Any advice or success stories you can share? 

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Comments (27)

May 13, 2021 - 1:28pm

I see this a lot currently, especially in prop. Recruiters are wooing FAANG folks into prop who want new research ideas from FAANG AI/ML groups

Reckon it'll be pretty easy for you to transition back

  • Quant in HF - EquityHedge
May 13, 2021 - 10:21pm

OP here. STEM master's degree from a top 10 university. Very much worth it in my opinion. Due to stock performance total comp (base + rsu + bonus) came to around 600-700k last year. Which is at or beyond the top end of the "normal" range for quant researchers in my circle, and at much more reasonable hours (<50hrs week). Also had the opportunity to work with some of the celebs in the field, which was really cool.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - EquityHedge
May 19, 2021 - 8:37am

Can you elaborate more on why you want to move? I'm actually seeing more people move from quant into tech. Actually the main difficulty is passing the technical interviews as many quants don't have strong algorithms and systems design. Also, curious to hear your thoughts on ML infrastructure vs research. I am seeing more and more specialized roles in ML devops and these are now paying more than the applied ML research positions. However, it seems you have done quite well wrt total comp. Are you in a pure ML research team?

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  • PM in HF - Other
Jun 6, 2021 - 8:55pm

Short of some very rare spots at a few of the larger platforms, I'd say you risk pricing yourself out of the market if you're expecting a similar level of comp without having your own strats that you can drop in in year 1.

Particularly within ML there are a ton of guys a few years out of academia who have solid experience that will work for half what you made. If I were you I'd stay out, keep your feet up and enjoy getting out of the office in time to catch east coast first pitch.

  • Quant in HF - EquityHedge
May 13, 2021 - 10:00pm

How is your experience with recruiters and interviews these days if you don't mind sharing? I mean as an ex-quant trying to rejoin the industry. I imagine there could be some suspicions about someone switching back and forth between industries.

May 14, 2021 - 8:04am

I don't think firms care so much if you switch back and forth, but many of them only want people who are junior (<5-7 years experience) or are PMs bringing in a complete strategy. If you don't fit either bucket, they consider you too old and won't interview you, unless you have some very specialized expertise they want.

Most Helpful
May 15, 2021 - 1:31pm

This isn't entirely true, but not entirely wrong either, it might depend on the position/company.  I have about 13 years of total experience and a background working at a HF (although not as a quant).  I left the fund to do a STEM masters from a top 10 and went into tech after doing a short stint in the DS team at a bank.  I currently work on the quantitative side of a fintech company and I too am interested in getting back into markets.   I'm interviewing for trading/quant roles with a number of companies in crypto, banks, and HFs. No one has really asked about my Rumspringa in tech, but maybe that's because it's at a fintech company. I also have some side projects on my resume / github that show the direction of my interest.  

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