Goldman Sachs is building out its cutting-edge FAST team in Hong Kong

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Goldman Sachs is building out its cutting-edge FAST team in Hong Kong

One of Goldman Sach’s most cutting-edge units is hiring in Hong Kong. Eighteen months ago we reported that recruitment for the bank’s FAST team was centred on New York and Bengalaru – now some of the focus has shifted to Hong Kong as the bank seeks to better support its equities operations in the city.

FAST (an acronym for franchise, analytics, strategy and technology) is a cross-divisional team that partners with sales, traders, and franchise managers in the equities businesses “to understand and quantify opportunities, inefficiencies and workflow obstacles”, according to Goldman’s careers website. It’s doing this by developing analytics tools (based on large-scale complex financial data sets) that the front-office can use to turn data-driven insights into action and ultimately make better business decisions.

Goldman’s current Hong Kong-based FAST vacancy, for an engineer, provides some insights into what it takes to make it within this expansionist team. For starters, you’ll get to learn Goldman Sachs’ proprietary technologies: Slang and SecDb. But you won’t get pigeonholed into being a GS-language-only specialist because the job also requires the use of Java, Python, C++, and Linux, as well as big data tools such as Hadoop and Spark.

According to Goldman’s vacancy, the projects you might find yourself working on include, “building a chatbot that uses natural language processing to automate trade idea retrieval, building a web app that utilizes vital franchise data through machine learning to suggest potential trades, or designing metrics that analyze inquiry and trading activity to enhance client relationships”.

These are exactly the type of emerging-technology tasks that banks in Hong Kong are currently struggling to offer, leading more technologists to depart for Alibaba, Google and other pure-play tech firms. Given that FAST offers them in spades, Goldman should not be short of applications to current or future Hong Kong-based roles.

But weeding out the right people for FAST jobs may not be so straightforward. Away from the tech, these roles also demand an “entrepreneurial approach”, and constant communication with traders, salespeople and other front-office types. “In Asia, many candidates come with great tech skills, but fall down when it comes to their ability to communicate, so they wouldn’t cut it at Goldman,” says a Hong Kong-based recruiter.

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