Quantitative Trader

What will I be doing?

You’ll bridge the enormous gap between theoretical models of market behavior and practical, profitable trading strategies.

Models cannot make a profit on their own and are valueless without the ability to trade and the ability to deal with real-world conditions. That’s where you come in. Depending on your experience, you may find yourself optimizing trading, working on real-world issues such as subtle differences between modeled securities and actual securities, or dealing with a wide variety of new conditions which cannot be understood by historical models.

This description is too abstract. Could you give me specific examples of what I’ll be doing?

In trading, you may optimize existing quantitative algorithms and models, evaluate or invent new algorithms and models, or develop knowledge of market structure. As you acquire market structure expertise, you will become better at creating new algorithms and handling idiosyncratic situations.

To work with the differences between modeled securities and actual securities, you may need to understand the financial implications of the terms of OTC instruments or understand how liquidity could be overestimated.

New market conditions, like COVID-19, significant policy changes, and models descended from ChatGPT, are arriving more and more frequently as society becomes more technological and interconnected. These new conditions cannot be analyzed solely from data. Your knowledge of relative pricing, your trading experience, and your ability to analyze situations and understand new things will help you manage Spark’s risk and sometimes extract alpha.

Is there anyone you encourage to apply, who might not have otherwise considered this role?

If you have an excellent quantitative background combined with industry experience in an alpha-searching role and you no longer see enough upside in that crowded space, we encourage you consider putting your quantitative talent to work in this adjacent context.

If you are a newly minted PhD in a quantitative field, you will have demonstrated the ability to make headway with unsolved problems and developed your quantitative skills. This could make you a great fit. Compared with an alternative software or data role, there is more scope for creativity and less screen time.

If the role appeals to you but you have concerns about “fitting the profile”, apply anyway. Spark reviews each application and is not limited to particular profiles.

What will I be learning?

You will learn about trading and markets and will continue to improve your quantitative skills. You will also learn about the business of quantitative trading, including technology, management, and relationships. You’ll add practical skills to your quantitative base.

Since Spark is a small firm, you’ll be exposed to a greater variety of products and more aspects of the revenue generation process than you would at a bigger firm.

What are the unique advantages of this opportunity?

In addition to developing your quantitative skills, you’ll also develop your practical and executive skills. The value added from your quantitative skills will be multiplied by the other skills you develop. From a career perspective, you’ll bypass thousands of brilliant quantitative people endlessly searching for new alphas who rely exclusively on their quantitative skills. You will be able to add significantly more value per unit of your quantitative ability than in a purely quantitative role. This value added can drive your career progression.

This role allows you to gain experience with multiple products and multiple aspects of the revenue generation process.

There is quicker, more accurate feedback about the impact of your work on the bottom line than in most positions.

What are the unique challenges of this opportunity?

To take full advantage of the opportunity and maximize value added, you’ll need to be willing to add real-world skills to your existing quantitative base.

Some of this appeals to me, but I don’t have a background in all of it.

No one can be an expert in every aspect of the complex work that is required to make theoretical models of market behavior into investment returns. Spark is a team, and we’ll fill in the gaps. In addition to having team members you can rely on, we’ll help you broaden your skills with access, mentorship, formal learning, and more.

What is the expected compensation range for this position?

We expect to pay a base salary of $250K-$475K for an early-level hire working in the New York office, with higher starting compensation for candidates with prior financial experience. Base salary is only one aspect of total compensation, which includes an annual discretionary bonus.