Citi will take on more technologists to work on a new electronic currency trading and pricing hub that it is launching in Singapore, says its global FX trading boss. But the US firm faces a tough job market as banks such as JP Morgan and Standard Chartered are also ramping up their hiring within FX technology, according to recruiters.
Citi announced this week that it plans to launch the FX trading engine – which is modelled on the firm’s existing systems in Tokyo, New York and London – in the fourth quarter. The bank now needs additional technologists to “build out the new platform, related connectivity and ongoing support functions”, Mark Meredith, global head of electronic trading for FX and local markets, told us.
Some of the new people will be recruited from other firms, while some will be transfered from existing Citi teams. The FX developers working on the new Singapore platform will be based in the Republic as well as in other Citi global trading and technology locations, says Meredith, without providing headcount numbers.
What kind of skills will get you an FX technology job at Citi? “The development will involve the interaction of a number of different teams within Citi,” says Meredith. “Network and connectivity technologists, quantitative analysts, and specialised low-latency coding experts will all be involved in the project,” he adds.
Singapore-based FX e-trading and FX-support professionals will also be involved throughout the development process and once the systems are live in production, says Meredith, adding that much of the project will focus on the deployment of new hardware infrastructure in a Singapore data centre.
Citi is not the only bank hiring FX developers, however, and the talent pool in this job function is already small in Singapore. JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and Commerzbank, for example, have developed in-house FX platforms in Singapore, which boasts the highest FX daily trading volume of any Asian city. “A lot of banks are looking for developers with eFX-trading Java-development experience. It’s one of the hottest areas in banking tech,” says Adam Davies, associate director and lead IT recruiter at iKas International in Singapore.
Java is the main programming language required for trading-systems developers at the likes of Citi and Stan Chart, says April Jimenez, a senior consultant at recruiters Huxley in Singapore. “If these Java developers are equally competent in C++, that’s a big plus,” says Jimenez. “They also need to know Spring and Spring Boot. FX candidates must be fully competent or hands-on in programming real-time, multi-threaded, and highly available systems,” she adds.
If you make it into an FX development team at a bank in Singapore, you can consider yourself an elite technologist. “Comparing retail banking systems developers with eFX developers, the trading ones tend to be better as they are exposed to newer technology stacks and they have bigger budgets,” says Jimenez.
If you have cash equities experience, you might want to apply to work on Citi’s new Singapore FX platform. “What’s required for FX is pretty similar to what’s required in cash equities,” says Vince Natteri, a former programmer who’s now managing director of IT search firm Pinpoint Asia. “A low-latency cash equities developer could do just as well building FX trading platforms. And the domain knowledge in FX can be learnt quite easily for someone who’s worked in equities,” he adds.
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