If you work in sales and trading within a large, currently shaky, institution, the chances of finding another opportunity are relatively slim. Assuming you want to be able to indulge in proprietary trading and – importantly – have a deep understanding of electronic trading, high-speed trading firm XTX Markets might be the place for you.
XTX Markets shot to prominence last year for luring Zar Amrolia, Deutsche Bank’s former co-head of fixed income currencies and commodities, across as co-CEO in September.
He shares the lead role with Alexander Gerko, who was latterly head of FX trading at hedge fund GSA Capital. Gerko was also at Deutsche Bank – as head of quantitative trading – but his first batch of recruits came from GSA. This is the hipsterish hedge fund that straddles the divide between quant fund and high frequency trading shop.
Now the firm has turned its attention to large investment banks. So far this year, many of XTX’s senior recruits have come from banks that are downsizing.
Jeremy Smart, formerly a managing director and head of fixed income electronic distribution at Royal Bank of Scotland, joined XTX as head of sales in March. He’d previously spent eight years at Morgan Stanley, latterly as an MD in foreign exchange emerging markets.
Matt Clarke, who was in e-FICC sales at Barclays until February, also joined XTX in a sales role, while Moez Ghanmi, who was an FX e-trading on Barclays’ BARX platform, joined in January.
Meanwhile, Jigar Patel also joined from Goldman Sachs to lead its e-commodities trading business.
XTX remains relatively small, of course, and many of its new recruits are on the technology side of the business rather than the front office. Notably, this year, it’s brought in Craig Smith – a former Unix engineer at Barclays – as a systems engineer and Ignacio Solla Paula as a core developer. He joined from Google.
XTX has yet to file any accounts, but recruiters suggest that base salaries these types of organisations are low – anything from £72k upwards – and compensation is largely tied to PnL, which can be a 28% cut in profits.