The quant hedge fund spun out by the systematic trading prop trading team at Barclays two years ago, has nearly doubled staff and massively hiked up compensation for its London operation over the past year.
Squarepoint Capital, one of the most buzzed about hedge funds launched in 2015 after a team of around 60 quants and systematic traders within Barclays’ nQuants team spun out of the bank to go it alone, increased its London headcount by 95% over the course of 2016, according to newly released accounts.
It had 45 people at the end of last year, up from 23 in 2015 and has been paying them more. On an average pay per head basis, Squarepoint paid £311.6k last year, compared to £210k in 2015. Its partners have been bringing in more money – they made an average profit of £659.6k last year, up from £603.4k for the previous period.
There’s a downside to hiring so many staff – a big uptick in costs. Squarepoint spent over £14m on its employees last year (£10m more than 2015) and despite an uptick in revenues, its profits fell from £9.5m in 2015 to £5.6m last year.
Barclays inherited the nQuants team after it bought Lehman Brothers’ U.S. business in 2008. It was founded in 2000 by Olivier Durantel and Gregoire Schneider, who remain in senior roles at Squarepoint. The firm has offices in London, Singapore, New York, Geneva, Zug, Paris and Montreal.
In London, Squarepoint’s EMEA chief investment officer is former Barclays systematic trader Pierre-Adrien Nicolas, while ex-Barclays quants Thibaut Bondoux, Clement Larrecq, Charles Caverne and Salim Louzgani all occupy senior roles in the UK.
Last year, one of the more significant hires was Rahil Iqbal, who joined as a quantitative researcher from J.P. Morgan where he was head of EMEA index strategy.
More recently, Squarepoint has been competing for talent with large investment banks and big-hitting hedge funds. Nathan Benabou joined from J.P. Morgan’s quant team in April as a systematic trader, Oleg Bogoslvskiy came from KCG Holdings and quant researcher Bruno DeCourt joined from Citadel.
Squarepoint doesn’t appear to have finished recruiting. Currently it has roles for senior quant researchers across long term equity, high performance and price action stat divisions within all its office locations.
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