Hedge Fund Career Paths – Traders

Traders are at the heart and soul of the hedge fund firm. That’s why trading jobs are so popular. Quantitative analysts work closely with traders to develop trading models based on Statistics and Computational Mathematics. The traders are the ones who execute the strategy and make the magic happen.

Hedge fund trading jobs usually require experience working with portfolio managers and various trading models, such as multi variant regression analysis and risk models. Many hedge fund trading jobs call for a background in statistics or mathematics. Often, the most successful firms hire only from the top colleges and universities. However, in the end, a great trading record will trump educational background.

Types of Traders

There are junior and senior level traders, and even a more junior position called a trading assistant. Typically, a trader has earned a college degree and has one to five years of full-time work experience.

A junior trader would have a degree plus about two years of professional work experience. After working at a hedge fund for five years or so, they might move up to senior trader, possibly even with profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities. This is where the real earnings begin. Whether or not you move up the ladder is at the discretion of the portfolio managers, and reflects your individual trading skills and capabilities.

Within the job category of trader, there is a distinction between execution traders, whose job it is to primarily execute ideas provided by the firm’s research analysts or portfolio managers. And there are traders responsible for P&L, as mentioned, who both generate investment ideas as well as execute them. In this more senior role, the job of trader and portfolio manager often merge.

A hedge fund job as a trader job can be one of the highest paid in the entire organization. The trader has expertise in knowing when, how, and on what exchange the fund should buy and sell assets. Great traders have extreme discretion over the deployment of capital into the open market. Good traders like working for hedge funds because of the transparency and flat organizational structure. Success is easy to recognize, and hedge funds reward their top performers handsomely.

Next time we’ll look at what types of skills are required by successful hedge fund traders.

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