Jane Street paid staff $1.3m as profits soared

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Jane Street paid staff $1.3m as profits soared

If you're a quant trader or a financial services technologist nowadays, you'll probably have heard of Jane Street. You may also want to work there. Many try. Few succeed: the company says only a "small percentage" of applicants are accepted for interview. Jane Street's interviews are notoriously demanding and the questions get harder with each round.  

For those not in the know, Jane Street is about as hot as things get in the world of quant trading. As the Financial Times has pointed out, it's one of the world's largest market makers - electronically matching buy and sell orders for  ETFs, options and bonds. In 2020 it traded more than $17tn worth of securities. It's secretive, it's different (the FT says it's a bit like an anarchist commune where job titles didn't count until recently), it's huge, and it's hugely profitable.

Jane Street is a private company and doesn't disclose global accounts. However, newly released accounts for Jane Street Europe Ltd. provide some idea of how the business works, with the caveat that they're subject to internal transfers between entities in the U.K. and the U.S. parent.

In 2020, Jane Street Europe generated revenues of $1.6bn according to the new accounts, on which it earned profits of $979m. This was a considerable increase on 2019, when revenues were $415m and profits were just $354m. 

Jane Street Europe's 274 staff seem to have benefitted as profits soared. Last year, the company spent $354m compensating its London staff (including salaries, bonuses, pensions), an average of $1.3m per head. Comparisons with 2019 aren't valid as most of the payroll costs at the time were allocated to a different entity.

Clearly not everyone at Jane Street will receive $1.3m - top quantitative traders are likely to receive more, and some support staff will receive less - but the high average pay figure helps to cement Jane Street's reputation as one of the industry's most lucrative places to work.  

Jane Street doesn't just pay well in the U.K. Last year, pay for U.S. trading interns at Jane Street in 2020 was $14.5k a month, plus an extra $500 a week work from home stipend (making $16.5k as a monthly total) for. And Jane Street's 2020 graduate hires straight from college were paid a $200k annual base salary, plus a $100k sign-on bonus, plus a $100k-$150k guaranteed performance bonus. Junior bankers' high salaries look a little paltry by comparison.  

As profits and revenues rise, Jane Street has been hiring. 40% of Jane Street's London staff work in technology, and the firm hired 22 new technologists in London last year. Another 27% work in trading (where 12 people were hired). The remainder work in infrastructure (where 17 people were added in 2020).

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