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Why Citadel Securities hires people without job titles

If you dig deep into the vaults of the internet, you may find a rumor concerning Citadel Securities' approach to product managers: allegedly, the electronic market making firm doesn't have them, preferring its developers to interface directly with the people talking to clients themselves. That's not entirely true - there are product managers at Citadel Securities, just not nearly as many as you might think. 

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In key areas of the business, it turns out that the rumor is correct. Jake Glasser, a former Goldman Sachs VP who joined Citadel Securities in August 2022, is a derivatives sales trader at Citadel and co-head of the 'options algorithmic pillar' at the firm.   As a sales trader, Glasser says he's responsible for, "execution, pricing, trade structuring and idea generation...for elements of client acquisition and relationship management.”  As co-head of the options algorithmic pillar, he's responsible for building out the firm's technology, "making sure that we’re close to the data and scaling it for our clients while we grow.”   

In the traditional tech set-up, a product manager might sit between Glasser and the engineers. At Citadel Securities, Glasser says this layer is absent; sales traders at the firm talk to the engineers directly. “All the sales traders on my team are responsible for technology and business development – we don’t have separate teams of product managers that work with those pillars of the business. We are closest to the data and to our clients. The firm is built on a foundation of engineers and researchers that our team is empowered to leverage to help improve client experience.”  

Glasser says this makes Citadel Securities much faster moving than the average slow moving large financial services company. "We are encouraged to be industry disrupters – find problems, break them down, and build scalable solutions to improve markets," Glasser says. “Many of us previously spent time at banks where it was historically difficult to obtain the resources to turn big ideas into products that add value for clients.

This also means that jobs at Citadel Securities can defy standard industry job descriptions. "People who join are often not coming to fill a position but to build out an idea," says Glasser. "Often, people are hired without specific titles."

Most of all, it means that if you join Citadel Securities, you'll need to understand technology. Citadel is a technology-focused company, says Glasser; it's using technology to solve for the provision of liquidity in relation to two variables, "risk and time." Citadel aims to hire, "the best and most talented people, to expose them to the vision and the technology and to have them build it out," Glasser adds. Sometimes that might mean hiring product managers; mostly it means hiring traders who really, really know how to talk tech.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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