Barclays latest big U.S. hire reflects hedge funds' horrible non-competes

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Non compete Citadel

Remember those nasty non-competes at hedge funds? Barclays' latest big quant hire is a reminder of just how long they last.

Over eight months after leaving Citadel, Daniel Nehren, a former managing director at the fund, has finally taken up a new role at Barclays. Nehren led equity execution at Citadel. He joined Barclays as a managing director and will head statistical modeling and development, as well as equities.

What was Nehren doing all that time? His LinkedIn profile offers an explanation:

Non-compete

Non-compete clauses have long been present in financial services, and especially loved and adhered to by boutiques and hedge funds. They are meant to prevent employees from taking up the jobs with rival firms for few months after they leave. Typically, a non compete period ranges anywhere from three months to a year. Long non-competes are the reason many people opt not to work for hedge funds.

Citadel is particularly zealous about its non-competes. Headhunters say the fund has been known to impose one-year non-competes on senior trading staff and on very rare occasions will impose a non-compete for two years on top people. It is also known for policing them vigilantly. In 2009, it took one of its senior employees, Mikhail Malyshev, who led its high-frequency trading, to the court for starting his own firm during the non compete period.

Nehren's eight months out of the market may have come as a welcome break after 18 years of work. Before joining Citadel as a managing director in May 2015, he was head of linear quantitative research at J. P. Morgan for almost six years. He started his career in the financial services industry at Goldman Sachs in 2001, prior to which he worked in a couple of companies in technical roles for two years. At Goldman Sachs, he served as an executive director for five years, before joining Deutsche Bank in 2006. He was Deutsche's deputy global head for quantitative products for over three years, after which he moved to J. P. Morgan in 2009.

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