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High frequency trading firm nearly triples pay to over $925k a head

Man-money

High frequency trading firms have been under a lot of scrutiny since the publication of Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys last week, prompting ongoing debates over unfair advantages and market rigging. They also pay very well, with junior recruits just two years into their careers able to earn nearly $300k.

It is, perhaps, with unfortunate timing that Jump Trading’s UK operation has decided to post its annual results on Companies House today, in which it becomes apparent that it pays very well indeed.

Jump’s UK arm posted a profit of just over $6m for the year ended 31 December 2013, which is a huge leap up from the $1.1m made in 2012.

It has, therefore, taken the decision to reward its staff very handsomely. Pay was up to $32.4m last year, from $11.8m in 2012. It has just 35 employees, meaning that average pay per head was $925.5k.

Measuring compensation per head is an inexact science and it’s likely that there will be people earning substantially less (and more) than this figure. However, Jump’s figures suggest that it’s the traders who are reaping the rewards – the highest paid director of the firm received $531.1k for 2013, which was included in the comp figures, implying those bringing in the money are being paid the most, rather than the executive suite.

Comparative to its size, Jump has also grown massively throughout 2013. Excluding directors it started the year with 19 staff and expanded its headcount to 32 by the end of 2013.

Just 15 of these work in FCA-registered roles, however. Iain Ward, a former JPMorgan and Bear Stearns trader, was the latest person to join in November, with risk manager Rob Ward and quant traders Laura Somerville, Steven Busuttil and Sebastian Quecke all signing up in October.

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