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The Top 10 Ideal Hedge Fund Employers

Many of the 7,500 people who voted in this year's Ideal Employer survey selected hedge funds as their preferred places to work.

They don’t map one-to-one, but a lot of the hedge funds that were voted first or second as Ideal Employers by respondents to our survey are also some of the biggest hedge funds by assets under management (AUM). That shouldn’t be surprising. The biggest hedge funds are some of the best known. And when AUM are combined with leverage and strong returns, they enable the funds managing them to invest more in technology and to generate strong profits. In turn, these enable those funds to devote more money to pay, rewarding careers and culture.

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Citadel is the overwhelming winner in the hedge fund Ideal Employer category. Nearly three times as many people chose Citadel as their first or second place preferred employer than those who voted for the next three hedge fund entries combined. What makes Citadel so popular? As the chart below shows, it scores particularly well relative to other hedge funds for metrics relating to pay. 

“Citadel is undeniably an exciting place to accelerate your career,” chief people officer Matt Jahansouz tells us. “We seek out problem-solvers who are committed to excellence and want to be part of our highly collaborative and entrepreneurial culture.”

Citadel’s founder and CEO Ken Griffin, speaking at an event for LSE students in October 2023, said the fund seeks to bring in “people who enjoy collaborating with others,” rather than just technically polished candidates. Griffin added that Citadel looks for “people who played sports, were in orchestras, or took part in other team-based pursuits.” Griffin said that being able to connect and communicate with others is also a desirable trait.

Ranking behind Citadel, Bridgewater was rated above average among hedge funds its integrity, approach to hybrid work and for caring about its employees. The fund’s founder and CEO, the legendary Ray Dalio, retired last year. Under Dalio’s leadership, the fund was well known for its idiosyncratic culture, based around radical transparency – to the extent that annual performance reviews, which include bonus guidance, were available to be read by anyone at the firm.

In third place among hedge funds was Renaissance Technologies, which scored particularly well for offering interesting careers. Renaissance is more scientifically oriented than a traditional hedge fund: it hires mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists with no financial background.

Like Citadel fourth-place Millennium Management scored well on categories relating to pay. However, Millennium scored far worse than its rival for the perception that its employees are kind and that it cares about employees. Millennium’s portfolio managers – who are grouped in autonomous pods where they follow their own investment strategies – are extremely independent compared to portfolio managers at some other multistrategy funds, making it hard to talk about a company-wide culture as opposed to the culture specific to each particular Millennium pod.

Citadel and Millennium are multistrategy hedge funds. The remaining hedge funds on the list are split between multi strategy and quant funds. Multistrategy funds, also known as multistrats, such as Balyasny, Point72, and Brevan Howard, operate multiple investing strategies and can vary widely in terms of culture depending on a few factors, such as how much independence they give to their portfolio managers. DE Shaw began life as a quant fund but now operates multiple strategies. AQR has also been historically quantitative, running systematic strategies based on computer algorithms.

The full eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer report can be downloaded here.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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