Goldman Sachs is hiring developers for its recently formed FICC systematic market making (SMM) unit in Asia. SMM was set up in February last year to consolidate all of Goldman’s FICC automated trading activities under one global umbrella.
One of the latest recruits to the group is developer Yanjin Luo, who joined Goldman in Hong Kong last month from Credit Suisse. The Swiss bank also has a systematic market making group, which it has been expanding.
Although still junior – Luo came to Credit Suisse in 2014 as a graduate – her hire reflects the continued expansion of SMM at Goldman in Asia. The bank also has an Asian SMM developer vacancy advertised on its website, and recruiters expect more to follow later this year.
“It’s a growth area because banks can still generate revenue from trading, even after the Volker Rule closed down their prop desks,” says Peter Barker, founding partner at Atlas Global Search in Hong Kong.
At Goldman, SMM is responsible for building “applications and system flows for trade booking, reconciliation and risk management”, according to the online vacancy. “A major area of focus is system reliability engineering; including increasing automation, improving real-time monitoring, and developing metrics.”
SMM is an “incredibly hot” field for technologist because team members typically sit with the front office rather than with technology, says Barker.
Goldman’s current SMM vacancy, for example, states that the new recruit will be “sitting on the FICC trading floor full-time and interacting closely with trading and sales business users on a daily basis”. Almost every FICC trader in the firm uses SMM in-house software.
A move into Goldman’s SMM team, which is led globally by partner Konstantin Shakhnovich, could prove lucrative for technologists. “Their coding and strategies generate revenues, which means a far larger bonus pool than a traditional trading-system development team would get in a bank,” says Barker.
The need to work directly with traders means Goldman is basing its SMM developers in costly financial centres like Hong Kong.
“While it can offshore core development and system administration roles to hubs in India or Eastern Europe, it still needs technologists in HK and Singapore to understand traders’ needs, turn around prototypes rapidly, and communicate requirements back to offshore hubs,” says Jon Scheele, a former senior manager of research and innovation at ANZ who now runs a Singapore fintech consultancy.
If you want to follow new recruit Luo into the Goldman SMM unit, you’ll need strong programming skills in one or more of these languages: Java, C#, Python, C++. A working knowledge of UNIX is required, while experience of SQL, FIX protocol, and front-office support are beneficial, according to Goldman’s careers site.
“Technologists embedded with front-office teams need to be quite sharp technically, but also need to work at the traders’ pace and on their terms,” says Scheele.
“The front office expects a lot from these developers. Being a proficient full-stack developer is just a prerequisite – you also need to understand financial markets and deliver solutions quickly,” he adds. “But it’s a great role for those who thrive in a fast-paced environment where they're involved from strategy through to execution.”
Image: MarianVejcik, Getty