Two Sigma has taken on KCG quant head as Virtu fallout continues

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Maybe it was the chance to jam in its in-house recording studio, play air hockey or a plethora of other board games, but Two Sigma has just picked up a major new hire from the fallout at KCG Holdings.

Ilya Ustilovsky, the former head of ETF quantitative research at KCG Holdings, joined Two Sigma in September as a senior vice president within its New York operation. He previously spent over eight years at KCG, having joined from UBS in 2009, where he was an executive director and quant researcher within its electronic volatility group.

Ustilovsky was co-head of options market making at KCG until 2013, when he moved into his role heading up ETF quant research within its customer market making unit.

Ustilovsky left KCG Holdings in May, along with a number of other senior executives, after it was acquired by rival high frequency trading firm Virtu Financial. Many have since landed at new employers, mainly large investment banks and hedge funds that are desperate for senior quant and technology talent.

Mike Blum, KCG’s chief technology officer, has been hired by Goldman Sachs as a partner and CTO for its electronic trading unit. Robert Crane, its head of electronic execution, has joined HSBC as global head of cash execution, and Graham Wayne, KCG’s head of EU electronic trading, has signed up to Barclays.

Two Sigma is a $40bn New York-headquartered systematic hedge fund that employs over 1,100 people globally. It’s well-known for its “fun and autonomy” approach to staff well-being that includes funky office space with in-house recording studios and game-nights as well as throwing ‘fiestas’ to mark significant events in its employees’ lives.

It also reportedly pays $500k plus for 20-something maths geniuses, but pay figures for its UK operation suggest an average package of £309.1k ($406k).

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