Is the world's biggest hedge fund going all-in on HFT and Dark Pools? We ask because Ray Dalio's Westport, CT-based Bridgewater, which at last check manages around $160 billion between its Pure Alpha and All Weather fund products, and which according to preliminary data had a solid performance in 2014, has just hired Jose Marques, the former global head of the quant and algo-heavy electronic trading at Deutsche Bank, to become Bridgewater's new head of trading.
And as those who followed the surprising power plays involving the leadership of the HFT-favorite BATS exchange will recall, he had been a candidate to become president of BATS/DirectEdge - the HFT industry's preferred stock exchange where he also served as a board member - but where the job was in the last minute given in November to Chris Concannon, former head of the "Holy Grail" high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial LLC. Marques was supposed to replace William O'Brien "who was forced out of BATS in July amid cultural differences and a decision by BATS to settle allegations that one of its units gave improper advantages to high-speed traders" after he was schooled, and caught lying on primetime TV by Michael Lewis' young protagonist Brad Katsuyama.
What is surprising is that as the WSJ adds, at Deutsche Bank, Mr. Marques oversaw the firm’s electronic trading operations which included the operation of its dark pool.
So, one wonders: is the very macro-heavy Bridgewater branching off into unknown territory, and will it be putting the skills of an HFT and dark pools expert to use in the coming months?
We are sure to find out shortly, especially if the market begins to act even more weird than usual.
For all those wondering just how many business, finance or trading degrees one needs to get what may be the most coveted trading job in the world, the answer is zero: Marques has a Ph.D. in physics from University of California-Irvine. Previously he held senior electronic trading roles at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG.
In other words, by hiring Marques, Bridgewater will now have intimate knowledge of not only every aspect of HFT-trading as it takes place in the most heavily HFT-trafficked exchange, but also the operations of the four of the biggest dark pools in the world.
Something tells us High Frequency Trading, and scalping, and frontrunning, is about to become a whole lot less profitable for everyone else, except for Ray Dalio...