Class of 2024 at IITs sees silver lining in speed-trading firms

Class of 2024 at IITs sees silver lining in speed-trading firms

Bengaluru | New Delhi: High-frequency trading (HFT) firms are offering a king’s ransom to hire top IIT brains to help build complex algorithms, establishing themselves among the most coveted recruiters for the Class of 2024.

Firms including Quantbox Research, NK Securities Research, Da Vinci and Graviton Research Capital, which operate in the high-stakes world of algorithmic trading, will be signing on fresh IIT talent during the final placements at packages ranging anywhere from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore, some of these firms told ET. Some have also made pre-placement offers.

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This comes at a time when engineering colleges are facing one of the toughest placement seasons ever, in the shadow of a tech slowdown and pullback in IT hiring. While these packages will be bagged by only a tiny fraction of the overall graduating class, the big-ticket packages are something to cheer about, say placement cells.

The outlook for HFT firms is optimistic, says Prashant Singh, managing director, Quantbox Research. “We expect that the upcoming election cycle and various geopolitical factors will contribute to increased market volatility, providing a conducive environment for HFT strategies,” said Singh.

Quantbox Research’s Singh expects to hire 20-25 students from the IITs, including through the pre-placement offer route. “Consequently, we are bullish on our hiring to ensure we have the right talent to navigate and capitalise on these conditions.”

Quantbox is offering both domestic and international roles, with positions available in India, Singapore, Amsterdam, Chicago, and London. While domestic salaries are around Rs 1.3 crore including base, sign-on bonus, non-cash benefits and bonus over two years, for positions in Europe and the US, the upper range would be Rs 3 crore.


Amsterdam-based proprietary trading house Da Vinci is looking to hire traders, developers and researchers from IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IIT Kharagpur. It will be visiting these campuses during final placements. The compensation package is set at 150,000 euros (Rs 1.34 crore) for the Amsterdam office, said its lead recruiter Margherita Cantele.

The firm offers both domestic (Mumbai) and foreign (Amsterdam) roles. For the domestic roles, a six-month training period in Amsterdam is included.

“We are still in the process of expanding our trading teams. Our office in Mumbai has been opened this year and we will be opening a new office in Miami in 2024,” said Cantele. “If we look at financial market expectations for 2024, we do expect the current macro-economic and political events to have an impact on volatility across financial products.”

While Da Vinci did not onboard interns last year, others such as Quantbox Research and NK Securities that did so have made pre-placements offers (PPO) to some of them. At IIT-BHU, for instance, the highest PPO so far is Rs 1.68 crore from NK Securities, said Sushant K Shrivastava, coordinator, training and placement cell, IIT-BHU.

Last placement season’s record-breaking package of close to Rs 4 crore at some IITs, including Delhi, Bombay and Madras, was also offered by Jane Street, a quantitative trading firm, specialising in HFT. Queries sent to Jane Street and NK Securities from ET remained unanswered until the publication of this report.

Another HFT firm, Graviton Research Capital, which made offers upward of Rs 1.2 crore last year, will also be visiting again.

“At Graviton Research Capital, we hire top engineering talent from IITs for quantitative research and technology roles,” said Ashish Banga, chief people officer at the firm. “We recruit at the IITs every year as these roles need excellent problem solving and programming skills. We expect similar hiring numbers as last year.”

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Author: Shirley