Citadel, Credit Suisse and the problem of hiring traders in Dublin

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Want to hire traders in Dublin? The experiences of Citadel and Credit Suisse suggest it might not be that easy.

In theory, the two firms should be the beneficiaries of ‘first mover advantages’: both are already established in Dublin, and both are looking for traders ahead of rivals who might move in because of Brexit.

In reality, however, hiring in Dublin is tough. The Irish capital has long been a centre for back office functions, and indeed technology, but front office functions are a different matter. There aren't many traders in Dublin. If banks want to shift trading roles away from the City, this will be an issue.

Some of the top traders in Dublin are located at Susquehanna International Group (SIG). “SIG is one of the only players here which has the sort of talent any of the international firms would want,” says one former trader. “Traditionally, they hire talented graduates and train them up. Their route after a few years would be to move to London to chase the big pay packets.” SIG has around 350 staff across all functions and focuses on options trading, employing traders, quantitative analysts and technologists

Unsurprisingly, therefore, SIG has been the first port of call for Citadel. Citadel is in the process of opening a Dublin-based European HQ in 2017 and plans to open initially with 12 people. We understand that it’s so far lifted a team of eight traders and quants from Susquehanna. They are currently on gardening leave and due to join in the new year.

The other alternative is the Irish diaspora. Many are based in London and keen to come home.  “I’m speaking to guys working for hedge funds in London on £250k who are willing to take a big haircut to come home,” says one headhunter working on trading role in Dublin. “The problem is that their experience is arguably too sophisticated for the roles on offer.”  Starting salaries for traders in Dublin are around €30k, suggest headhunters we spoke to, while salaries for even complex products never head north of €130k.

Credit Suisse is running into recruitment problems in Dublin. The Swiss bank decided to move 90 roles in its prime services division to Dublin as part of its strategic overhaul. This was announced when a Brexit vote was still a distant possibility.

Despite the fact that IDA Ireland claimed that Credit Suisse had hundreds of applications for these roles, we understand that it’s still in the process of building its team.

Credit Suisse’s prime finance division includes Delta One trading roles, which is a relatively simple derivative trading function where the derivative product tracks the movement of the underlying financial asset.

While it has made a number of hires, it’s still in the process of recruiting for these roles, and over-arching restrictions on recruitment across the organisation has made it difficult to fill them.

“They want someone who can plug in and play,” says one headhunter in Dublin. “This means that even the hedge fund traders earning a lot in London would require some training. If they wanted to hire locally, there are literally around four people who could do the job.”

Meanwhile, rumours abound that large investment banks are scoping out property and meeting with key officials in Ireland about moving more function over from London. Developing a strategy for getting the right people on the ground seems key to this.

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