A long list of notable hedge funds suffered through a difficult 2018, with most of the damage coming during the final three months of the year. David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital reportedly declined an astounding 34% last year. Activist hedge fund Third Point was down roughly 11% in 2018; AQR Capital Management admitted to having one of the worst years in its 20-year history, just to name a few examples.
That all said, several big hedge funds are still doing quite a bit of hiring, focusing particularly on quants. Alternative data provider Thinknum went to LinkedIn to pull out some recent figures for big-name hedge funds, looking at total headcount during the third quarter and comparing it to the end of the year. While Thinknum acknowledges that the data is obviously not going to be completely accurate coming from LinkedIn, the percentage changes should be fairly indicative of how aggressively a fund is adding or subtracting talent.
For the chart below, we cherrypicked some of the bigger names as well as the hedge funds that appear to be the busiest. The quarter-on-quarter changes are highlighted in both raw numbers and percentages. Some of the bigger firms aren’t fluctuating at the same trajectory but look to be adding or subtracting more people.
As you can see below, Point72 appears to be one of the hedge funds doing the most hiring. Steven Cohen’s firm has been actively adding quants, building up its macro team and growing its Point72 Academy to increase headcount at the junior level. Unsurprisingly, the two other firms that top the list are known as specialists: macro fund Balyasny Asset Management and quant fund AQR. Meanwhile, U.K.-based Man Group is a giant that always seems to be in growth mode.
However, there are two funds that weren’t included in the research that would likely be in the mix at the top. As the biggest hedge fund startup ever, ExodusPoint Capital Management has been hiring dozens on portfolio managers, traders and analysts in New York and London. Millennium Management has also been in firm growth mode.
As for the two firms at the bottom of the list, Citadel is a bit a of a surprise. It may just be a bit of an anomaly. And as Thinknum mentions in their report, Winton recently spun off its data analytics unit – a move that likely manipulated the numbers a bit.
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