Ladies, if you've been looking to work under one of the greats, today is your lucky day. Not Lenny Dykstra-- you wish-- but the next best thing. Biff Basness is looking to fill a couple of positions ASAP. AQR's head of trading, who "more or less built up the whole trading desk by himself" and was "in charge of the firm's discretionary and high frequency trading operations" quit yesterday. Some color from inside the lair:
Management hired some dinosaur over from GS and made him [redacted]'s boss. It was a strictly marketing decision as they didn't want to tell stodgy pension fund guys that the head trader is only 29. It makes you look better to stick some balding 55 year old guy in front of gullible fund of funds guys. That has caused some friction for a while and [redacted] finally had enough and decided to quit. I cannot divulge where he is going as he is now locked in a fight to get out of a bogus non-compete agreement that he was pressured to sign when he joined the company some six years back.
Also parting ways with Biff a few weeks ago was the head convertible bond trader, who was apparently "responsible for nearly 100% of the trading in the convertible bond fund (also known as CNH), which is the only fund at AQR that has made any money lately and as such the only fund they have been marketing."
As usual, the partners are painting these individuals as underperforming discontents whom they were "glad to see leave." They were both very solid, well respected traders. The exodus continues. The only people remaining are those who cannot get jobs elsewhere, which includes all of the 13 overpaid, underskilled partners they have. There has been about 60% turnover in investment staff since early 2008, and the ones who quit were the cream of the crop. Their head of research works part-time at 15 hours a week (he's a full-time professor at NYU). It's a joke.
Update: According to a spokesman for AQR, "The individual was not 'head of trading' but rather trading desk manager. Contrary to what you've written, he has nothing to do with our high frequency trading. He held a relatively minor position, commensurate with his experience, and his new position outside the firm should build on that. We wish him well. We did not fight with him on his non-compete, despite what you wrote, and in fact released him from that immediately. As concerns the alleged 'head convert trader' - that, too overstates his role, which was execution only. He did not select bonds, value or manage them. That function is handled by two former professors from Harvard and Northwestern. Great guys."