HFT posts $1.5m loss, still pays $260k per head

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High frequency trading firms don’t follow the same rules as investment banks when it comes to hiring and pay. Some have reported a drop in profits for 2015 – the latest available figures for HFTs in the UK – but have been hiring regardless.

Sun Trading is the latest HFT to unveil its 2015 accounts, and has posted a loss of $1.5m, compared to a profit of $7.4m in 2014. Despite this, it has four more employees in 2015 than the previous year, and paid an average of $260k per head. The firm didn't offer any commentary on the results.

14 of Sun Trading’s 24 UK-based employees work in support functions, however, and eight are in trading roles – an increase of one person on the previous year. It also paid an average of $383k in 2014, so the HFT has clearly been cutting back its compensation costs.

Sun isn’t the only HFT bulking up in the UK. Spire Europe, which posted its 2015 results last week, has increased headcount by 38% on the previous year, or around 30 people. Despite an increase in revenues, from £94.6m ($115.9m) to £140.2m, Spire’s profits dropped by around £5m to £15m.

Staff costs more than doubled to £52.4m last year at Spire, or a hefty £639.4k ($783.9k) per head.

At HFT Jump Trading, which also reported its annual results for 2015 this week, profits increased from $27.1m to $39.3m. Jump has added a mere two employees throughout the year, however, and paid an average of $1.4m to its 49 staff.

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

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