HEDGE FUND COMP: How much engineers, associates, and researchers are paid at AQR, Bridgewater, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, Point72, and Two Sigma

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  • Hedge funds are known for their top-of-the-line compensation packages, and applications for H-1B visas for foreign workers reveal what top funds pay different roles in salaries. 
  • Managers like Bridgewater, Citadel, Point72, AQR, and more rely on dozens of non-US citizens to do roles across their firms, from investing to data analysis to compliance.
  • Even entry-level jobs, like associates on investing teams, pull in base salaries that break six figures at nearly all funds, the applications show, and that’s not even the totality of these employees’ compensation packages, which often include significant bonuses.
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For many Wall Street aspirants, a career at a top hedge fund is the holy grail. For those who succeed, compensation has the potential to eclipse nearly any other profession in the country — let alone finance. 

The hedge fund industry has transformed over the past 15 years. Whereas fundamental investment strategies once ruled the day, increasingly the flow of talent and capital is shifting toward firms with sophisticated quantitative strategies and data-mining operations. 

Today, most of the largest and most successful funds have significant quant operations, if not a complete emphasis on quantitative investing. Firms like AQR, Bridgewater, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, Point72, and Two Sigma vigorously compete for the most promising young financial minds — and they pay hefty sums to lure in top candidates. 

Bonuses play an outsized role in overall comp at most funds, especially in investment roles, but base salaries are still substantial and figure prominently especially at the more junior levels, where employees typically have a less direct impact on overall returns. 

Read more: We built the first-ever searchable database of the top Wall Street recruiters for banking, hedge funds, and private equity

Some of the brightest minds in systematic trading and quantitative research were born and educated outside the US, and some funds stock their US rosters with foreign labor. When US companies file paperwork for visas on behalf of current or prospective foreign workers, they’re required to say how much base compensation the workers are offered. And every year, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification discloses this salary data in an enormous dataset.

Business Insider analyzed the agency’s disclosure data from the past three years for permanent and temporary foreign workers to shed light on what these hedge funds paid for talent. The jobs were based around the country and do not reflect bonuses, which can be substantial.

According to US Department of Labor documentation, the offered wages in the disclosure data are the minimum amounts companies provided in foreign labor certification applications for specific workers.

The wages are derived from the average compensation that similar employees in each given job, industry, and with comparable qualifications are paid, which is known as the “prevailing wage.” Prevailing wage sets a floor for their salary, but salaries are often much higher than the prevailing wage.

Representatives for the funds either did not respond to or declined requests for comment.

Read more: Billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin explains why he modeled his firm after Goldman Sachs’ analyst program — and says future leaders can’t expect a 9-to-5 lifestyle and a ‘great weekend’