Meet the elite JP Morgan team that's quietly expanding in Hong Kong

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JP Morgan is expanding its equities-focused technology team in Hong Kong. The new hiring is part of wider moves by banks in the city to further automate their trading systems. More than half of the US firm’s current Hong Kong-based technology and quantitative research vacancies have an equities focus.

For example, JP Morgan wants developers to help re-engineer its ‘Pyramid’ platform for processing and risk managing of equity derivatives. If you want to work on Pyramid, there’s a Python-specialist equity derivatives software engineering job on offer, and there’s a similar equities role with a Java focus. Both also demand “very good knowledge of one or several scripting languages” (Python, JavaScript, Ruby etc), according to the JPM careers site.

Meanwhile, the quantitative research (QR), systematic trading team at JPM is recruiting at VP/ED level in Hong Kong. The unit, which covers all equities businesses, works closely with traders to develop algorithmic strategies and other data-driven solutions that automate and optimise JPM’s trading operations. JP Morgan also needs a VP for QR equity derivatives. The two positions require experience of developing trading systems and a PhD or Master’s in a quantitative discipline from a “top-tier” university.

But while JP Morgan may have plenty of equities trading technology vacancies in Hong Kong right now, its hiring won’t necessarily be straightforward – other global banks want the same kind of candidates. Goldman Sachs, UBS and Bank of America, for example, are all hiring developers to work on equities systems in Asia, as the region plays catch-up in e-trading.

“Asia has historically lagged behind the US and Europe in the automation of markets activities,” former equities trader Warwick Pearmund, now an associate director at Pure Search, told us in April. “But banks are now hiring technologists in Hong Kong because this gap is closing rapidly, not only to fit in with global automation trends, but also to take advantage of regional initiatives such as China’s Stock Connect with Hong Kong.”

The Goldman Sachs Electronic Trading (GSET) unit is hiring in Hong Kong as part of a global initiative for GS to become the “top provider in electronic trading by building superior technology”, according to Goldman’s careers site. CEO David Solomon said last year that the firm is building out its electronic trading business globally as it pursues $1.5bn in extra fixed income trading revenues and $0.5bn in extra equities trading revenues.

Vince Natteri, a former programmer who’s now a director of Pinpoint Asia, says there are “a lot of roles” in both equity derivatives and cash equities. “Banks usually look for low-latency C++ development skills, an understanding of the markets, and a good grasp of Linux / Unix operating systems,” says Natteri. “But I’ve also seen plenty of python quant development roles opening up,” he adds.

The Asian equities market became more “electronified” last year, according to a report released in January by Greenwich Associates. Financial institutions expect single-stock electronic trading alone to comprise 49% of their Asia (ex-Japan and Australia) execution volume within three years, the report states.

Image credit: Tsuji, Getty

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