If you're not familiar with the name Jas Sandhu, you can probably be forgiven. If you are, you are likely part of a small group of people at the top of the hottest hiring area for investment banks this year - equities systematic trading. In this niche, Sandhu is something of a star.
Those who know say that Sandhu, who has almost no online presence, was Morgan Stanley's leading equities algo strat and a key player in the bank's market-leading electronic equities business. He's thought to have spent over a decade working for Morgan Stanley in London, until recently - when insiders say he disappeared and hasn't been seen since.
Morgan Stanley isn't commenting on Sandhu's whereabouts, but he's no longer on the bank's internal directory. Rumour has it that he's off to J.P. Morgan, although he's not there yet - and J.P. Morgan isn't commenting either.
If Sandhu is indeed moving next door to J.P.M., it will be a coup for the rival U.S. bank, which has been busy building out its electronic trading business to compete with Morgan Stanley, which seized the dominant position in the wake of the financial crisis.
Recent months have seen plenty of activity in the systematic trading space, particularly at Goldman Sachs, which is playing catch-up as it seeks to build its electronic trading business after years of comparative neglect. Goldman Sachs hired Tim Rohkemper from Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan hired Fabian Mehmke from Deutsche Bank in August, for example. Goldman has been losing strats as well as hiring them though: algo software engineer Chandan Nath left for Google last month and the New York electronic trading team has suffered multiple exits.
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