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Technology jobs in finance in 2022: appraising the past year

When it comes to technology in finance this year, the thunder has been predominantly stolen by crypto and its inescapable scandals.

That doesn’t mean it's business as usual in the world of traditional finance, however. A number of interesting developments have happened in the tech departments of banks and hedge funds over the past year.

Tug of war for tech talent between FAANG and banks

Good technologists are always in hot demand and there’s been a notable number of moves to and from banking. Even while technology firms have been cutting heads, they've still been hiring from financial services. Meta and Amazon, for example, both making big name hires from banks as recently as this month.

Away from FAANG, other tech companies have been hiring from banks. Spotify, for example, have seen a big uptick in hires from Goldman Sachs this year.

Who are banks hiring from techology firms? One of the biggest hires was Tigran Terteryan who spent over 3 years respectively at both Google and Meta before being tapped by Goldman Sachs to become an MD. The specifics of his role in the last 9 months have not been as readily available as those of his previous roles.

Ironically the biggest names to move from tech to finance are those returning. Mahmood Hanif was a managing director at JPMorgan when he left for Meta. In October, he returned to the bank having only spent 17 months in the role.

It’s not just investment banks seeing staff come back hat in hand. Bijan Treister left the hedge fund Millenium and returned even faster after just 14 months. 

Machine Learning separates the good from the great

One of the areas most spoken about in finance this year is machine learning. It’s something the finance industry can’t get enough of. However, hedge funds are far more selective in their ML hires.

Last month, one former Meta engineer claimed recruiters for hedge fund Citadel were assembling in “hordes” to court his favor. That may seem impressive but one anonymous tech headhunter claimed that hedge funds will “interview everyone” but only hire the best.

Hedge funds have been adding machine learning talent. For example, ExodusPoint hired Bin Zou from Goldman Sachs in October. Zou has a PhD in machine learning which he's using for alpha signal research.

Elsewhere, algorithmic trading firms seem to prefer finance experience to education. Citadel Securities have been open about hiring from banks whilst XTX Markets made the big name acquisition of Hans Buehler from JPMorgan in the first quarter.

Goldman Sachs picks favorites in its tech teams

Goldman Sachs isn't shy about investing in technological passion projects, for better or worse.

Decades ago it was Slang, their in-house programming language but in the recent decade it's been developments in two large scale products: app-based retail bank Marcus and transaction bank TxB.

Marcus was lauded on launch for its proprietary technology but has since proved to be a sinkhole for profits. TxB meanwhile has received near universal acclaim for its implementation of cloud technology.

Though hiring for Marcus is ongoing, an indicator of Goldman's intent and favoritism came in the Q3 earnings report when it was revealed that Marcus was being combined with wealth and asset management. In late December it emerged that up to 400 jobs are being cut at the consumer unit. 

By comparison, TxB was showcased as one of the flagship success stories of the new unit, Platform solutions. It’s clear who the new golden child is.

Cloud engineers in hot demand

They may work in the cloud but that doesn’t mean you can pull them out of thin air. Headhunters say cloud roles are notoriously hard to fill due to an overall lack of experience with large scale cloud integrations. 

Banks have been switching to cloud for a while now, but there's a lot more to do. In job listings Goldman Sachs describes itself as still being at “an early stage of modernizing our services around cloud native principles.” 

In June we reported that JPMorgan listed 116 cloud engineering jobs on their site. In December, however, there have been 358 listings for the bank in the last 30 days alone. Interestingly, 151 of those listings are all based in India. 

Indian tech teams still the big winners

It’s a time of great change and growth in India, and the finance world wants in. Of the 1558 software engineering jobs listed by JPMorgan, 384 are in India. Of Citi’s 3131 technology listings, 722 are based in India.

A true game changer in the jobseekers’ market is the pay transparency laws recently implemented in New York. With the reveal showcasing just how much New York engineers get paid, banks are looking elsewhere for valuable talent.

This doesn’t mean Indian technologists are being paid pennies, however. In fact, for performance based compensation, India has had a meteoric rise. The Options Group compensation report noted that, despite bonuses in India only rising 0.7% overall, the sector consisting of quant, risk, compliance and technology saw a staggering 18.6% jump.

It's not just banks either, one anonymous executive at a high frequency trading firm says "everyone is very much trying to get into India" right now for its "huge talent pool."

Hedge fund quants head for the beach

If you are one of the US quants picked up by a hedge fund, it might be looking to send you somewhere scenic. Hedge fund tech talent is being moved out to Miami.

In the summer, things really heated up in this space. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin announced plans to go “all in” and move the hedge fund’s HQ to Miami.

Shortly after, rival firm Millennium moved a number of high profile quants to its Miami office including head of low latency technology, Fernando Jeronymo.

Enthusiasm for Miami depends on the role. Sonny Field, director of executive search provider Upward Trend, states that “If you're a discretionary equities PM regularly attending conferences and hiring analysts from banks, it's still much easier to do this in New York”

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Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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