• Wall Street equity derivatives traders have become a rare commodity
  • Hedge funds and investment banks have struggled to hire or retain star volatility traders.
  • Insider tracks hires and departures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Equity derivatives traders have become one of the hottest commodities on Wall Street.

After record trade in 2020 – partly thanks to intensified pandemic market shocks


throughout the year — derivatives traders at major investment banks saw their market value soar, and many seized the opportunity to seek new opportunities.

Once the big banks’ bonuses were paid in January and February, hedge funds began poaching equity volatility traders at a breakneck pace, snatching senior talent from Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

“Usually it’s just musical chairs on the sell side,” a veteran volatility trader previously told Insider. “It makes things more interesting because the buy side is attracting so many people.”

Faced with a potential talent shortage, some banks have played defense and bolstered vacancies with their own hires, adding fuel to the burgeoning talent war. JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are the latest to see defections, with Bank of America poaching two veteran traders to run their US index and single equity derivatives trading desks.

Morgan Stanley also lost Derek Brannon, executive director of index volatility, to Capula Investment Management and Thomas Hauch, vice president of equity derivatives, to Sculptor Capital Management this week, sources told Insider. Representatives for Morgan Stanley, Capula and Sculptor declined to comment.

Insider tracked hirings and departures tied to stock volatility. Here is the last one:

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