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The "extremely kind" new hedge fund with an ex-Citadel founder has been hiring

The new kid on the hedge fund block might also be the nicest. Aquatic Capital Management was founded in 2019 by Jonathan Graham, formerly head of Citadel's statistical arbitrage and equity high-frequency trading. Since then, social media data suggests it has amassed over 100 employees, and a few senior names have been joining in 2024.

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This month, Aquatic hired David Harks as a software engineer. Harks, whose senior career has had a focus on data engineering, joined from hedge fund Balyasny. He's also held roles at HFT firms like Jump Trading, rival hedge fund Citadel and even a fintech: Clear Street.

He's not the only recent inductee. Liz Sitian Chen, a quant research ED at AQR Capital Management, joined Aquatic last month as a quant researcher. Marc Higginson-Rollins, a former product manager at Citadel Securities, joined that same month. Bryan Kressler joined in March after 13 and a half years at Google, where he was a staff engineer and tech lead in search infrastructure.

Aquatic may not be your average hedge fund, however. Reviews are sparse, but those on Blind give Aquatic unanimous praise. Much of that praise is for its work-life balance; one software engineer says they "come in 9:30/10, leave by 4:30/5." While you're there, the office has a "chilled out" and "relaxed atmosphere." They say the people aren't just smart but "extremely kind." For engineers the respect and culture is "equal to quant researchers."

Chief information officer Kevin Weiler (nicknamed Kiwi), spoke on a YouTube video last August, describing Aquatic's culture as "academic, sort of erudite." He said he joined the firm because it had an "approach to trading that I was hungry for when I worked in prop trading." In the style of another well-loved firm, Renaissance Technologies, Aquatic seems to be "driven by pure scientific research." 

Aquatic has offices in Chicago and New York, but is slowly growing a global presence too. In the past year, it has hired at least seven London based employees, and is hiring more. Douglas Vieira, formerly of Susquehanna, joined in February as a quant researcher, and it has an open listing for a trading operations engineer in London. Back in the US, Aquatic is focused on hiring in Chicago. It's recruiting C++ and python engineers as well as a quantitative researcher. Each of these roles (including the one in London), advertises a salary between $150k and $300k.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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