Which firms are most quantitative: DRW, IMC, Virtu, Flow Traders, Optiver?

sjgli78's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 11

Currently graduating from school, looking to break into prop trading without much finance background (but strong quantitative skills stats, math, cs).

Got offers from a few or all of these firms, but I'm not sure which would be best for me. I'm hoping to use my background to its fullest potential. Which of these would be considered the most quantitative in nature (i.e., coding and a good amount of statistical research potential)?

If there are any employees at these firms, would I be able to PM you directly to get some sense of the skill-sets that people find important at each company? I appreciate any and all responses, thank you!

Comments (7)

Oct 28, 2018

Hey sjgli78, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I am sad to say, but this thread is lonely, so thought I'd post in here to try and help out. Some potential topics that might help:

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If those topics were completely useless, don't blame me, blame my programmers...

Most Helpful
Nov 10, 2018

None of these are ultra-mathy, but the I would guess math caliber is something like Optiver > IMC > DRW > Virtu > Flow? FYI Optiver isn't shy about culling juniors so something to think about if you don't have even internship experience in prop.

    • 2
Nov 12, 2018

My friend just got an intern offer from Optiver. Not a single probability question. He said Virtu asked quite a few. Optiver was more market-making exercises and mental math.

Nov 10, 2018

I don't think IMC is math-y. Their trading strategies are very infrastructure and latency driven.

Nov 10, 2018

Isn't the nature of latency driven trading very data-analysis oriented? I'm not at IMC but worked for a competitor.

You can get <100us response times with off the shelf hardware now, so I think the big differentiator between HFT firms are their research teams

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Nov 10, 2018
CAPM Arbitrage:

You can get <100us response times with off the shelf hardware now, so I think the big differentiator between HFT firms are their research teams

It's hard to definite technological edge but it's certainly there for a lot of firms. A simple example - the guys who have access to a microwave data freed can pull faster and thus will get negatively selected less. That's a huge edge right there. Research matters a lot, indeed. UHF players are getting increasingly smarter in sniffing regularized order activity, for example, as well as other things like expected fades etc.

It depends on your mindset. The shorter the timeframe, the more real data there is and the more stationary the data is per unit of trading time. Thus there would be more value in various forms of data analysis such as machine learning. So someone who likes more of a data-driven and engineering challenge should look at HFT and especially UHF shops. Someone with a more of an experimental scientists mindset (i.e. world is a dirty and vague place), should look into a more markets-driven voodoo done by people like myself at lower frequency places.

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Nov 10, 2018