Hyper-educated quant trader leaves Citi for UBS

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A director-level quant trader that specializes in equities has joined UBS after a seven-year stint at Citi. Kai Zeng started with UBS in New York last month.

A vice president at Citi, Zeng helped manage systematic trading and equity derivatives analytics, according to LinkedIn. Now he’s an equity quant trader that works within UBS’s central risk book – a key role for large banks that are trying to manage extreme market volatility. While not as senior a hire, Zeng’s appointment should take some of the sting out of losing James Rubinstein, UBS's former head of algorithmic trading and analytics in the Americas who left to join Deutsche Bank late last year. Banks are having to defend against losing quant talent to rival firms as well as hedge funds, which have become much more open to poaching lifelong sell-side quants.

Zeng has the typical educational background of a successful quant and then some. He has three post-graduate degrees from Northwestern University: a master’s in political science, a separate master’s in mathematical and statistical modeling, and a PhD in political economy. Zeng then went to Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business to get his master’s degree in computational finance – known as one of the best program’s in the country for earning a high-paying job as a quant trader.

Finra records confirm that Zeng has joined UBS.

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