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The Chinese quant funds on a hiring spree

A dispute between two of China’s top quantitative hedge funds underlines the battle currently underway for top industry talent.

Shanghau Ruitian Investment is suing Zhejiang High Flyer Asset Management over potential  “infringement on technology secrets,” after Yang Yunhao, who led Ruitian’s development of high-frequency trading strategies, joined High-Flyer.

A court in Shanghai has ruled Yang didn’t violate his one-year non-compete agreement, which bars former employees from joining competitors, and ordered Ruitian to pay him 3.45 million yuan ($500k) in damages, according to a report by Bloomberg.

China’s quant funds are fund-raising and recruiting after a tough 2021.  High-Flyer, which was China’s largest private quant fund in 2019 with about 90 billion yuan ($12.9bn) remains a top player with assets of around 60 billion yuan. The company had built an investment and research team of about 160 people as of 2021.

Ruitian, which described itself as China’s biggest hedge fund, was founded in 2013 by Vincent Xu, who previously worked for Citadel.

But a number of other China quant funds are recruiting after reopening their funds last year following a tough 2021.

Yanfu Investments, founded in 2019 by former Two Sigma Investments analyst Gao Kang, employs 38 staff and said last year that it had doubled its assets to around 80 billion yuan ($11 billion). Beijing-based Ubiquant asset management meanwhile, managed around $8bn in 2021 and is on the recruitment trail for portfolio managers and research staff.  Ubiquant hired Elliot Tong as head of risk from UBS last October.

Lingjun Investment, which manages about US$7.7bn, was launched in 2014 and has offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The firm has have around 160 employees, 120 in investment and research team and has increased headcount by 8% in the last six months.

Egret Quant,  which managed around 9 billion yuan ($1.3bn)  in 2021 is also hiring interns, software engineers and researchers. The company employs more than 50 staff.

Shanghai-headquartered JQ Investments, which was founded in 2012,  describes itself as a leading quantitative hedge fund, focused on equities, futures, and other derivatives

Quant funds like to recruit from university campuses in China where they compete for talent with foreign firms like Bridgewater Associates and Citadel.

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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