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dlwlrma


Total Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-05 19:56
Does anyone have any insights into the following funds?

Engineers Gate
Squarepoint
HC Technologies

According to their website, Squarepoint used to be a prop group at Barclays and are now I assume a hedge fund. I assume they no longer do much in the way of HFT or market making.

Anyone know much about the others in the way of overall strategies (as in areas of focus), size and culture?

HitmanH


Total Posts: 486
Joined: Apr 2005
 
Posted: 2019-08-05 20:57
Yes

Although I would say that this forum is quite give to get - asking for info on first posts, when just became a member - maybe try and help out first?

longGamma


Total Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 00:38
I had an unpleasant (using a kind word here) experience interviewing with several people on the equities desk at Squarepoint.

Each successive interviewer fished for alpha information and wasted my and their time. I rejected to answer almost all questions.

Caveat: there are several teams doing different things. the others may be more ethical.

DouglasP


Total Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2014
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 06:33
I had a similar experience with SquarePoint. The interviewer kept asking for details on how I constructed my strategy.

On top of that when I asked him how the process works on their side he said something along the lines of "Well you come in, code up your strategy in our backtesting framework and then the senior partners decide whether to invest in it or not", at which point I just gave up.

longGamma


Total Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 06:56
Thanks for increasing the sample size. We need to start outing these desks..

Jurassic


Total Posts: 253
Joined: Mar 2018
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 12:35
Squarepoint is well known for interview questions so ridiculously hard that it is hard to know whether most people at the firm could answer them.

dlwlrma


Total Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 21:37
@longgamma

As someone with no quant background (at the time), I obviously didn't get these kinds of questions. Unfortunate that you did...perhaps it depends on which desks you're interviewing with?

From what I could gather, the place seems to be pretty collaborative across the desks (i.e. not as siloed as some other places) although I don't know what that means from a bonus allocation perspective.

dlwlrma


Total Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-06 21:38
@HitmanH

Fair enough. To be honest, at the moment I don't have much to contribute since I'm pretty new to the field/forum and only lurked here before. Will try to contribute more when I can.

longGamma


Total Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2019
 
Posted: 2019-08-07 08:36
@Jurassic
The questions weren't difficult. They were specifically aimed at uncovering details of my alphas.. unlike conversations with any other fund.

Clear fishing expedition.

When I reciprocated the questions, they squirm and dodge. Funny how that works.

It goes along the lines of "I don't want to know the details of your alphas... but... we need to check if we already run similar signals so tell me the details"

Laughable. Multiple interviewers used the same line.


@dlwlrma
Yes, may be desk dependent. Note the caveat in my initial post. I don't want to paint with a broad brush. Email me if interested in which desk.

Since you're new to the field and won't be onboarding a strategy.. it's not a concern.

We have increased the sample size to two NPers.

loltrading


Total Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2018
 
Posted: 2019-08-10 05:47
@longGamma I've never interviewed with Squarepoint and know nothing about how they operate, but here's a dissenting view:

the main goal of firms interviewing to poach PMs is making sure you're "the guy" who really, fundamentally understands how things work. like you actually built the system yourself and aren't just some disgruntled junior guy who sat adjacent to the money machine making little tweaks here and there.

I'm not saying you should be 100% transparent with them, especially if your pnl is coming from Congolese Soybean Futures or some weird thing they probably never thought of trading, but talking in broad strokes is generally harmless.

riskPremium


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2018
 
Posted: 2019-08-10 09:59
@dlwlrma

"From what I could gather, the place seems to be pretty collaborative across the desks (i.e. not as siloed as some other places) although I don't know what that means from a bonus allocation perspective."

I heard pretty much the same thing from one of my friends who work there. And according to him, interview questions are not hard at all. No fishing for signals involved. Perhaps it's to do with the fact that he's a junior quant.

HitmanH


Total Posts: 486
Joined: Apr 2005
 
Posted: 2019-08-12 21:57
Agreed on this.
The problem with Squarepoint is that they have a very mature and diversified business, and the best part of 400 headcount. They're also not new, having taken IP from Barclays with them - so there's a very good chance that if there is something - they've thought of it.

The aim is to add orthogonal alpha - so unless you can supply time series of daily returns - it comes down to these questions.
That means you have to show something different, in input, process (or ultimately result, which is hard ex ante) - and it has to be sufficiently different that it isn't minor incremental to what they do - so it's hard.
Not saying should open kimono on interview one - but it's hard on both sides

Oh - and they still do a lot of HFT & MM - although mainly in the Master Fund (Partners only / >90%_

prikolno


Total Posts: 45
Joined: Jul 2018
 
Posted: 2019-08-12 23:21
-double post-

prikolno


Total Posts: 45
Joined: Jul 2018
 
Posted: 2019-08-12 23:21
I agree with @loltrading on this.

I've come across the same issue on the other side when speaking to allocators, some of whom run their own CTA firms or are tightly affiliated with their own trading operation. There's various ways you can word it to give an effective presentation of your skills without giving away critical details: "This isn't exactly how we do it, but...", or "We tried various ways of doing it [that didn't work]: X, Y, Z," or "I can talk about this forever but in the best interest of time/duration for this interview, [insert high level teaser]."

As an interviewer myself I usually make sure the interviewee is aware that they can opt out of responding to some of my questions if they think it's a sensitive topic and that it won't be held against them. I also try to ask in analogues that are not a direct application of his/her knowledge, say if the interviewee says that he built a simulator for pro rata products on a centralized venue, I could ask how he'd think about building one to respect quote protection on US equities. I feel the interviewer has some responsibility too to make the candidate feel that you're not acting in bad faith.

I actually see a slight negative signal when a candidate responds curtly that "they can't talk about it" rather than knowing how to respond fluidly in broad strokes over the important details. Maybe it's because the more junior folks are less capable of discerning what's really "secret sauce".
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