Point72 has just hired a new head of algo trading from Citadel

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Point72 has poached a new head of algorithmic trading from Citadel in another sign that the family office is embracing a quantitative approach.

Jerrell Watts, the former head of algorithmic execution and order routing at Citadel, who has worked across both its hedge fund and securities business, joined Steve Cohen’s firm as head of algorithmic trading earlier this month.

Around two thirds of investments at Point72, which manages around $11bn of founder Steve Cohen’s money, are applied through a traditional discretionary model, and the remainder is invested through quant strategies.

Matthew Granade, managing director and chief intelligence officer at Point72, has this year been espousing the need for portfolio managers at the firm to embrace the so-called ‘quantamental’ approach, which merges computer and human-based decision making. All new graduate hires at the firm are now required to undergo some data science and computer programming training, he said at a conference in January.

Watts has a PhD in computer science from the California Institute of Technology and has held various senior quant roles at both investment banks and hedge funds during a 19-year finance career.

He worked at Citadel in New York for nearly eight years, before departing in April 2016. Like many hedge funds, Citadel often imposes one-year non-compete clauses on senior staff, which may explain the gap between jobs.

Before joining Citadel, Watts worked as portfolio manager and quantitative researcher within Merrill Lynch’s high frequency market making business. Prior to this, he established Lehman Brothers’ equity options automated trading operation in New York.

Point72 has also hired Raghav Misra for a trading analytics role. He was previously at J.P. Morgan in New York.

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Image: Getty Images

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