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Aspiring Desk Quant in Sellside

Hi everyone!

I am a fresh grad from a top-tier MFE and currently I work in an IB as model validator. I am thinking to transfer to Desk Quant (ideally internal transfer) and wondering if anyone is familiar with front-office quants, how are their hours & pay like for a junior role? What skillsets/background of candidates will sellside companies prefer for a Desk Quant?

Any advice is appreciated!

Happy holidays =)
If you are a grad from a top tier MFE you should already have the skills needed. Depending on the asset class it can be intense or relaxed. Pay will defenitely be higher than risk.
Some banks will make a point of not paying FO quants more than they pay those working in validation, and so for the same pay you'd be looking at longer hours and more stress, with the upside of more interesting work (though this depends on one's preferences) and better "exit opps". Speed of career progression may also be different, but this is often about aligning oneself well politically as well as being at the right place at the right, so could work either way (when model val teams were rapidly expanding 5-10 years ago, that was the place to be if building a corporate career was what you wanted).

Now there is some variability as to what kind of a background one should have for a desk quant, so talk with the hiring manager for more details (over coffee or so as others have suggested). It should be very similar to yours, and as a rule I'd say desk quant roles call for more programming experience than the average validator job, and increasingly more ML experience.

Hours vary a lot depending the team.