First Derivatives Reviews

Updated July 23, 2015
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3.4
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First Derivatives CEO Brian Conlon
Brian Conlon
54 Ratings

Pros
  • Accomodation and Expenses package in London is excellent (in 7 reviews)

  • all expenses paid for and travel too (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • NOT a finance company (despite what they say) (in 4 reviews)

  • Most people join with expectation of short spell in Newry and then international travel (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

75 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Helpful (4)

    Great Opportunity to work in the biggest capital markets int he world. Good flexibility to work on multiple projects.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Capital Markets Consultant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Capital Markets Consultant in New York, NY

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Competitive Pay, Expenses paid for when traveling, ability to work in different cities on different projects enabling you to get a diverse set of skills.

    Cons

    Lack of communication between account manager and onsite consultants. Small project teams can make you feel disconnected at times from the company.

    Advice to Management

    Increase communication among project teams


  2. Good employer if you are interested in working abroad

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good for graduates. Plenty of opportunity to travel and work abroad. Employees on the expenses package benefit from free accommodation and regular flights home. Some sponsorship for training provided, e.g. PRMIA and some IT certifications. Good stepping stone if you are interested in working in capital markets. Senior consultants are valued and there is a loyalty culture if you remain with the company for a number of years. There are a number of different consultancy streams such as Law, IT, business analysis, q/KDB+ and some scope for cross-over in appropriate circumstances.

    Cons

    Similar to other consultancy firms there is a lack of clear career development prospects. Tendency to lose touch with consultants once they are out on site and are billable. Unlike other bigger employers, the company does not subsidize part-time higher level degrees or masters programs. The HR team is based in Northern Ireland, which can be frustrating for employees located in North American when trying to make contact outside of UK business hours.

    Advice to Management

    Career development prospects could be more structured and less tied to simply being billable to a client for extended periods. Suggestions include sponsorship of more accredited courses. There are inconsistencies in how policy has been applied to employees which should be addressed and changes in policy could be more transparent.


  3. Helpful (24)

    Avoid- career killer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at First Derivatives full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Free booze on Thursday nights in a dim dungeon in the hopes that it will make you forget where you are working and who you are working for. Makes for an interesting Friday when the staff are being sick everywhere though..

    Cons

    No financial institute will hire you after working for First Derivatives, since they are all scared that they will be sued/that you will be sued for trying to work there. When I left they owed me money- several months wages.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to manage people. Scare tactics don't work. Once I was told to appreciate my 19k a year because "we could really get someone to do this for us for free"- from the CFO. Real nice.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    FD offers a fast track career with many opportunities

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Business Consultant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Business Consultant in New York, NY

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have been with First Derivatives for 6.5 years and in that time I have packed quite a lot into my career. FD offers a career with so many opportunities, some of my career highlights: • Lived in 6 global cities across Europe and North America. • Projects at several top tier Investment Banks and Hedge Funds. • Experience in every spectrum of banking: Risk Management, Corporate Banking, Commercial Banking, Front Office, Middle Office, and Back Office. • Experience in many types of initiatives: Department Transformations, In house Tech build, 3rd party vendor implementation, Regulatory Reform, Outsourcing, and Big Data Below are some of the key reasons that make FD a positive place to advance your career: 1. Fast Growth: Since I have joined FD the company has increased 10 fold in terms of employee numbers. As the company grows it is becoming a bigger player in the financial services consulting realm 2. Opportunity to travel: FD is a global firm and there is a lot of opportunity to work in other countries. The company provides a lot of support to make the transition from location as smooth as possible. 3. Dedicated to Banking: Unlike most other financial services consulting companies, First Derivatives only engages with banking clients. 4. Clients: FD clients include all of the world’s top investment banks and many of the world’s top hedge funds. 5. Client Focused: Unlike other consulting companies, FD management recognizes that performing at the client is the number one priority, therefore the non client work load is very manageable 6. Meritocracy: Promotions are based on merit and not on length of service. (Though you do have to define your own career path and push hard for promotion). 7. Compensation: Compensation is very competitive, particularly at the more senior levels. 8. Loyalty: Consulting is a people business and sometimes the relationship between the client and the consultant may not work out; FD remains loyal, to proven, consultants in these situations. The management team is also very supportive during time of personal issues 9. Work/Life Balance: Although a strong work ethic is key to being successful at FD, management have a realistic expectation on the workload required and the importance of work/life balance

    Cons

    1. Communication: When on a client engagement communication with management can sometimes be sparse; this can lead to a feeling of isolation 2. Client Feedback: FD have a policy of not requesting consultant performance appraisals from clients, therefore it can be challenging to promote the work that you put in at the client

    Advice to Management

    Delegate more personnel management responsibilities from senior management to middle management.


  6. Helpful (5)

    A place to be entreprenuerial

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Consultant in New York, NY

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Unlike the large firms, this is a firm where you can build your career as you see fit. the company has a fledgling culture where they encourage ideas, initiative, and innovation. Not just lip service. You can walk up to any senior managers and chat. You can email any senior manager and get a response. Very little hierarchy or red tape. When you are on the client-site, there is very little corporate nonsense they load on you. Just work and you're fine. The employees tend to have a high sense of ownership and pride in the company. When you have family issues that come up, the management has your back. They have your back in general, but you know it when you have personal issues. You know the loyalty is reciprocated.

    Cons

    CEO gets a little too involved in the nitty-gritty of the day to day. The CEO knows everyone, everything that goes on in the company, which is good and bad. He is very frugal which helps instill a no-frills culture- he flies coach. Remember Berkshire-Hathaway a decade or two ago? This is the sort of company Warren Buffett would like to buy. The health benefits are just average. maybe worse than average. high premiums, high deductibles. Should be better. Accommodations are adequate.

    Advice to Management

    But sometimes little too penny-wise, pound foolish. Invest more in the company and the employees and you will reap dividends. Don't micro-manage. it's insulting.


  7. Helpful (2)

    Growing company; needs to evaluate employee experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous in New York, NY

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Leadership is very active in ensuring that employees reach training and development goals. They run awesome informal events to welcome employees coming back from assignment as well as those leaving. The hierarchy in the North American office is almost nonexistent.

    Cons

    The company needs to evaluate employee experience. The benefits could be a lot better and the office experience as well.

    Advice to Management

    The company is growing rapidly and its time to focus growing the office with at the same pace as the company.


  8. Placement student

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time

    Pros

    Great hours, easy to get days off and very easy to work for

    Cons

    No cons, great place to work


  9. Great place for the start of your career

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Engineer in Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)
    Current Employee - Financial Engineer in Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Fd offers great benefits. It's a fast growing company which offers the employees variety of projects. If you assigned on short term projects you can gain a lot of experience in a short period of time.

    Cons

    You can't chose the countries you are sent to and you don't always know the duration of your project which is a downside not only for fd but for every consulting company. The true downside of FD is that not always the most appropriate people are send to a specific project which can be also seen as a good thing because that way you are learning new knowledge but not nessesarilly in the direction you want to lead your carier.

    Advice to Management

    I think the managemant should have more personal relationship with the employees in order to have better understanding of their capabilities.


  10. Adequate, but maybe a little dull.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    The pay is in line with market. The working environment isn't the worst, and they seem to be trying to do things better in that regard. Processes are industry standard.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the nature of the business imposes constraints and inflexibility on employees, that some may find smothering or stifling. Costs are tightly controlled, perhaps too much so. While things are done well, it is not necessarily a hotbed of creativity either.

    Advice to Management

    Don't underestimate the little things. A penny wise, pound foolish in terms of tools and equipment. Employees will appreciate that, and such spending must be only a small fraction of salaries.


  11. Financial Engineer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Travel opportunities Competitive rates of pay and excellent expense policy Good exposure to senior management Work hard, play hard attitude External Qualification opportunities to strengthen your CV Great social atmosphere and FD setup makes it easy to meet new people

    Cons

    More Newry based social events for the whole team and not just new graduate intake

    Advice to Management

    More HR staff to assist with queries.



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