Do you want to work for Moore Capital Management, the New York-based hedge fund with $12bn under management? Have you heard of Elaine Crocker? No? Well, neither had we, until the December issue of The Hedge Fund Journal.
It seems that Elaine is the person to know if you want a job at Moore. Although she's never traded herself, Crocker is the person whom Louis Bacon has entrusted with ensuring his fund receives a steady flow of fresh trading talent. Although based in the US, Crocker's purview extends across all Moore's offices, in London, New York and Hong Kong. And she is a hard person to please.
Firstly, Crocker says she has no interest in hiring unrefined trading talent: Moore only goes for what she calls "fully formed" traders. Our research shows that last year, the fund hired nine registered people in London according to the FCA Register (it has 65 in total). Two came from Morgan Stanley, one came from JPMorgan, one came from Deutsche Bank, one had previously worked for Bank of America, one came from Hadron Capital (another hedge fund), one had once worked for RBS, and one came from Nomura. Only one was unaccounted for. So, when Crocker says 'fully formed traders' she's mostly talking about traders from investment banks.
Secondly, Crocker likes potential hires to write up a "trading philosophy" before they turn up for interview. This should cover everything from trading style, to markets traded, to the process that's followed and a description of the time periods in which a trader is most successful and the amount of risk he/she likes to take. Crocker looks for portfolio managers who can "articulate" their style because this is the basis for allocating funds and setting a return target if they're hired.
Thirdly, Crocker likes to hire people who can go for several interviews without contradicting themselves. Candidates for positions at Moore are reportedly interviewed by four or five different people, one of whom will be a specialist in their asset class. Any contradictions will be picked up upon.
Fourthly, Crocker's hires must not be sycophants. She watches hard for interviewees who try tailoring their responses to what they imagine the interviewer wants to hear.
How unusual are Crocker's methods in the milieu of hedge fund hiring? Chris Apostolou, a director at Arbitrage Search and Selection, which places hedge fund professionals in jobs, says it's standard for hedge funds to grill people over and over again: "They often go for the Goldman Sachs style of hiring," he says.
It's less usual for funds to expect a written trading philosophy ahead in advance. "Most funds just want a five year audited trading history, plus a measure of risk - either VaR or the Sharpe Ratio," Apostolou says.