Bonuses for hedge fund IT staff jump

Steve Dinneen
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Hedge fund IT staff have seen their bonuses double in the last year, according to new research.

ReThink Recruitment says software developers with experience in algorithmic trading platforms – a form of automated high volume trading – can now expect 50 per cent bonuses, up from around 25 per cent last year.

High-flying IT staff have also seen their base salary rise to around £120,000, a 15 per cent hike year-on-year. Contractors can now earn £750 a day, compared to £600 a day at the start of the year.

Fhamid Malik, head of financial services at ReThink said: “Renewed investor confidence has prompted a surge in business volumes. Funds are now locked in an arms race for the best systems to steal an edge on competitors.

“This has fuelled demand for IT staff, as funds look for the latest innovative platforms to mitigate risk and manage the market impact of trades.

“The last six months have also witnessed the return of guaranteed bonuses into contracts, which almost completely disappeared during the credit crunch.”

Fhamid Malik adds: “For those IT staff with the right skills this is an ideal time to secure a lucrative contract.

“These funds are locked in a perpetual war to produce the fastest and most accurate trading platforms. Employers are now willing to pay a premium of around 20 per cent for senior IT staff that have successfully developed and implemented bespoke trading systems before.”

ReThink says demand for IT staff is not limited to London, with several leading funds having recently moved part of their operations to Geneva and Zurich.

Meanwhile, US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner wrote to French economy minister Christine Lagarde earlier this week warning her against curbing foreign hedge funds in Europe as a row with Washington over new EU controls escalated.

The correspondence increases pressure on Paris to make concessions on new controls for private equity and hedge funds. Officials said France’s position had antagonised Washington, which is worried that American hedge funds will be blocked from Europe.