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Candidate blog: It now seems that only Chinese hedge funds can offer career salvation

Until recently I had hardly heard of anyone getting an employment contract from a hedge fund, let alone a China-focused one, but all of a sudden many people around me in Hong Kong are making the move.

An ex-colleague in the market data industry was approached by a recruitment agency and landed a job in a Chinese hedge fund. My ex-supervisor in financial technology has quit her job and joined a fund that runs ETFs. I also know a marketing manager from a global bank who is now a marketing manager at…you guessed it…a hedge fund.

I am not sure if this is good sign or not, but everyone I know who has made the switch has gone to a fund involved with mainland China and has taken a back-office role.

The China connection

A friend who sells algo trading solutions to hedge funds says his company is also primarily targeting these Chinese new entrants. The reason, he adds, is that many mainland institutions are “extremely rich”, but they are not so familiar to foreign-based hedgies. Therefore, no matter how small these Chinese funds are, they have an “unlimited” supply of money.

He has tried convincing me to join a Chinese fund after I have gained enough experience in my current company. In the long run, they will be able to offer me more money, he reckons.

Whether his comments reflect the entire hedge fund industry is open to question, but the Chinese firm my market-data friend above has joined certainly seems to be thriving. It holds just US$200m in AUM, but while my company’s AUM is four times larger, his firm’s headcount is triple ours and is still expanding. Plus his compensation package is not much less than mine.

Every day I hear about a potential “double dip recession” on BBC radio, and most hedge funds I know have lost money in the last two months. Yet Chinese hedgies are expanding their business.

It is hard to know for sure whether this growth is sustainable, but in a few years I expect these Chinese hedge funds to double or triple in number. And I expect them to be competitive, not just on pay, but also in terms of career development.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of eFinancialCareers.

If you’d like to blog about you career, please email apac.editor@efinancialcareers.com

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