The lesser known buy-side firms paying $250k tech salaries
When looking for firms on the buy-side, you usually have a few names already in mind. Looking for a hedge fund? You're after Citadel or Millennium. After a HFT firm? Jump or Hudson River.
However, there are a lot of others firms out there paying top dollar for the best and brightest quants and technologists. We recently looked at the top paying financial services internships and two less famous names surprised us with how high in the rankings they were.
Those two firms are New York based proprietary trading firm Five Rings and California based quant hedge fund The Voleon Group.
Founded in 2009, Five Rings gets its name from a book of the same name by Japanese swordsman and philosopher Miyamoto Musashi.
They quote this book on their website, saying "it is essential to keep your mind free from subjective biases," implying that the foundations of the company's ethos replicate the focus and discipline of Japanese martial arts.
The company has a respectable score of 3.9 stars on Glassdoor, with employees praising the "smart people" and "casual environment." Reviews in 2023 have been more damning, however, claiming 60 hour work weeks and "no accountability for some of the workers."
Five Rings' pay is undeniable, however. A graduate quantitative researcher can earn a minimum salary of $200k. A software developer lateral hire will earn a flat salary of $250k.
Cash bonuses are pretty good also; in 2023, two engineers on Levels.fyi with only a year of experience at the firm reported $90k cash bonuses as $340k total compensation packages.
The Voleon Group
California might be better known for its tech companies and fintech startups, but their traditional financial instutions have a lot to offer too. One of those is Berkeley based quant AI hedge fund Voleon.
With an average Glassdoor score of 4.1 stars, Voleon looks like a good place to work. Recent reviews praise the "exceptionally intelligent and talented yet collegial and thoughtful team members" with "a sense of agency and ownership in their work."
However, reviewers also say that progression plans are "not very clear" and that management can be delayed when it comes to making important decisions.
Especially for new graduates, pay can be incredible. On Levels.fyi, no engineer in the previous 3 years has reported a total compensation under $200k and two new grads at the end of last year reported TCs of $270k and $287.5k respectively.
Voleon is bolstering its ranks with senior technologists. It's hiring a VP of engineering on a salary of up to $300k while senior research staff can earn salaries up to $275k. The referral program is incredibly generous and can see staff earn up to $15k should a referred candidate succeed in their application.
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