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Expression of Interest – Quantitative Researcher

Can you solve this puzzle? 

An ant leaves its anthill in order to forage for food. It moves with the speed of 10cm per second, but it doesn't know where to go, therefore every second it moves randomly 10cm directly north, south, east or west with equal probability.

  1. If the food is located on east-west lines 20cm to the north and 20cm to the south, as well as on north-south lines 20cm to the east and 20cm to the west from the anthill, how long will it take the ant to reach it on average?
  2. What is the average time the ant will reach food if it is located only on a diagonal line passing through (10cm, 0cm) and (0cm, 10cm) points?
  3. Can you write a program that comes up with an estimate of average time to find food for any closed boundary around the anthill? What would be the answer if food is located outside an defined by ( (x – 2.5cm) / 30cm )2 + ( (y – 2.5cm) / 40cm )2 < 1 in coordinate system where the anthill is located at (x = 0cm, y = 0cm)? Provide us with a solution rounded to the nearest integer.

Was that easy to solve? If you enjoy mathematical challenges and writing computer programs, you could be instrumental in the success of Optiver's dynamic trading floor as our next Quantitative Researcher. With your statistics knowledge and top-tier analytical abilities, you’ll create the insights, reports and proposals that drive impactful new trading strategies. Get ready to collaborate with world-class Traders and Software Engineers from more than 50 countries to improve financial markets across the globe. This is your chance to demonstrate how valuable research and data are to the future of electronic trading

Who we are:

Optiver is a tech-driven trading firm and leading global market maker. As one of the oldest market making institutions, we are a trusted partner of 50+ exchanges across the globe. Our mission is to constantly improve the market by injecting liquidity, providing accurate pricing, increasing transparency and acting as a stabilising force no matter the market conditions. With a focus on continuous improvement, we participate in the safeguarding of healthy and efficient markets for everyone who participates.

As one of the world’s major financial centres, London was selected as the home of Optiver’s FX trading business, our UK-focused Institutional Trading Team and rapidly growing commodities trading arm of the business. Established in 2019, Optiver’s London office is quickly growing as a key player in the FX market. With its position in England’s capital city bridging European, Asian and American time zones, Optiver London embraces a truly global mindset. And it’s no wonder why. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, comprising more than 270 nationalities and 300 languages. With some of the best museums, a thriving international restaurant scene and bustling high streets, there’s no better place to become a citizen of the world. 

What you'll do:

Quantitative Research acts as the foundation upon which Optiver’s trading activities are built. Our research teams – experts with MSc and PhDs in a variety of STEM subjects – utilise a scientific approach to research and design our world-class trading algorithms. This means applying and developing state-of-the-art stochastic models to price options and predict market volatility, as well as utilising Monte Carlo methods to determine how to perform differentiation on discrete realisations of stochastic processes. It also means developing statistical arbitrage strategies by working with petabytes of low latency, high-frequency market data sets, an extensive high-powered computing back-testing framework and much more. Optiver Researchers believe in academic discourse, and therefore invite their teammates and Traders to challenge each hypothesis. Can it be mathematically improved? Does it pose potential risk? Does it exploit a market behavioural pattern? Can it sustain its output goals? Constant testing, analysis, refinement and innovation ensure our quantitative models remain at the cutting-edge of constantly evolving capital markets.

Please note: we aren't currently actively recruiting for this role, but we'd love to hear from you if you're interested – we will be reviewing applications periodically and be in touch within 4 weeks about next steps. 

Who you are:

We're looking for a Quantitative Researcher who will be versatile, flexible and creative in innovating new solutions. In return, we'll give you the freedom to pursue your ideas and implement them right into our production systems. Within a few months, you will play a key role in developing automated analysis programs and trading algorithms.

In terms of skills and qualifications, we're looking for:

  • Academic degree with top grades in Engineering, Physics, Maths, Econometrics, Computer science or equivalent 
  • Programming experience in any language (C, C++, Python, Basic, JAVA, etc.)
  • Ability to apply basic concepts of probability, calculus and linear algebra
  • Ability to carry a project on your own in a structured way within a short timeframe
  • Competitive attitude and eagerness to constantly improve yourself
  • Self-starting, ‘can do’ attitude
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Excellent verbal and written English language skills 

What you'll get:

Optiver’s London office is the location of our foreign exchange trading business and a growing hub for our commodity trading business. You will be part of a well-established and high performing global firm whilst experiencing the excitement that comes from a growing operation. As our London operations grows there is a real opportunity to make a huge impact and take us and your career to a new level. We offer a supportive environment for you to perform at your best. Some of our key benefits Include:

  • Competitive remuneration
  • 27 paid vacation days plus all UK public holidays
  • Daily Breakfast and lunch
  • Home to office commute covered
  • 50% paid gym subscription  
  • Private Medical Insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Training and continuous learning opportunities
  • Access to conferences and Tech events
  • International transfer opportunities

How To Apply:

Are you interested in furthering your career in our rapidly-expanding office in the heart of London?

Apply directly via the form below and please provide us with a CV, a letter of motivation in English and a solution to all three puzzle questions highlighting in bold your final answersThe full puzzle solution is to be uploaded in the same document as the cover letter and submitted as a PDF. Applications without an answers to the puzzles and a letter of motivation will not be reviewed.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to [email protected].

When applying for a role with Optiver UK Limited, the recruitment process is run via our Optiver global recruitment team. The personal data you will submit as part of the recruitment process may be processed in the UK, US and the Netherlands. By continuing with your application you hereby consent to your personal data being processed in these locations. More information on how Optiver processes your personal data can be found in our Privacy Policy.

Diversity Statement:

As an intentionally flat organisation, we believe that great ideas and impact can come from everyone. We are passionate about empowering individuals and creating diverse teams that thrive. Every person at Optiver should feel included, valued and respected, because we believe our best work is done together. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is hardwired through every stage of our hiring process. We encourage applications from candidates from any and all backgrounds, and we welcome requests for reasonable adjustments during the process to ensure that you can best demonstrate your abilities.

  • The chance to start your career working alongside best-in-class professionals from over 40 different countries.
  • Our performance based bonus structure is unmatched anywhere in the industry. We combine our profits across desks, teams and offices into a global profit pool fostering a truly collaborative environment to work in.

Alongside this you will get great secondary benefits such as 25 paid vacation days, fully paid first-class commuting expenses, training opportunities, discounts on health insurance, breakfast and lunch facilities, sports and leisure activities, Friday afternoon drinks and even weekly in-house chair massages. Being highly international, we are accustomed to guiding expats through their relocation, offering competitive relocation packages and providing visa sponsorship where necessary.