Group One Trading
3.3 of 5 20 reviews
www.group1.com Chicago, IL 50 to 149 Employees

Group One Trading Reviews

Updated May 14, 2014

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3.3 20 reviews

                             

71% Approve of the CEO

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Benjamin Londergan

(7 ratings)

53% of employees recommend this company to a friend
20 Employee Reviews
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    Stressful but Interesting

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThere are always new things happening and very rarely is their a dull moment.

    ConsStressful job conditions. One has to be focused throughout the entire day.

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    The Best Job I've Ever Had!

    Systems Administrator (Current Employee)

    ProsI am approaching my ten year anniversary at Group One Trading. This small privately held company has given me the best job I've ever had of the 16 jobs I've held in my life.

    The experience you will have at Group One depends directly on your own ability to produce useful results for the company, and the department you work in. This is not a place that wastes time in endless meetings, or where schmoozing and politics are the main way to get ahead. This company is for people who are self-motivated high achievers and measure their results in dollars, not hours worked.

    There are many departments at Group One, and your impression of the company will depend on the type of position you have. (Each department will have its own pluses and minuses.) As someone in the Computer / IT area of the company, our day can start earlier than everyone else, and end later, depending on how the systems are behaving. Management knows this, and- unlike other companies- doesn't make you work an 8 hour shift followed by having to do late night maintenance, and then get up early and start all over again. They treat you like a human, not a machine. Most other positions at this company do not have an out of market hour requirement, and their hours are correspondingly shorter.

    The company is fast paced, professional, and the focus is on the business and what is needed to get the job done. Their compensation and benefits are competitive with industry standards. As can be expected in a trading company, Traders take on the most risk, and can earn the most compensation.

    If you've had other jobs to compare this to, you will be shocked at how little overhead there is in activities that are time wasters. The amount of management used is the amount needed to ensure the company is working efficiently and no more. No one will be breathing down your neck as long as you are producing results.

    These working conditions generally mean that co-workers are enthusiastic about their jobs, and most employees feel fortunate to be employed here. Employees are lively, colorful, and fun to be around. We all work as a team.

    When it comes to reviewing any company, we can only speak from our own personal experience. For me, I have found the company to be kind, generous, caring, and fun to work for. It's been the best, most productive time of my life. I truly feel indebted for the opportunity. I have been treated with the utmost respect, rewarded for my efforts, and shown kindness by the company at every turn. I feel obligated to defend it against some of the harsh reviews that seem to unfairly portray the company in an overly negative light. Most of those reviews are by former employees, and most people aren't very positive when things don't work out their way.

    Working for a trading company is volatile, exciting, and like driving a high performance sports car. You won't know how great it is until you are behind the wheel. You can only appreciate it superficially from the outside. You have to try it to fully understand it.

    ConsThis is not the kiddie bowling alley. If you keep throwing gutter balls, there aren't rubber bumpers and do-overs. Your mistakes can easily cost the firm huge sums of money, and you could lose your job, or prevent your career from advancing further. This is perfectly fair, and perfectly scary at the same time. Trader Trainees have it the worst, and you will see that in the other reviews. Put yourself in the firm's position-
    Are you going to give your money to someone else to trade for you if you aren't fully confident in their abilities?
    As such, it is the duty of the company to only select the best when it comes to advancing trainees, and that unfortunately means that not everyone is selected to advance. No process is perfect, and rejection always feels personal. It's the company's obligation to shake out candidates early in the process to minimize potential losses. There must be confidence and trust on both sides of the table.

    If you are looking for a large corporation where you can disappear into the shadows and be anonymous, this isn't it.

    As with any trading company, market volatility, which is out of your control, can have a big effect on your paycheck. If you're a hand wringer, this may not be your best choice.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Phenomenal shop

    Trader Trainee (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGreat culture, people, environment, etc. Good location near the WTC PATH.

    ConsThey ran into some rough times and financially had to layoff a lot of good guys to stay afloat.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry to create new jobs now.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Fun and challenging, but senior management was a bit sketchy

    Options Trader (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsFun group of guys who know how to have fun at work while still giving it their all. Nice change from a corporate environment.

    ConsVery competitive and somewhat territorial.

    Advice to Senior ManagementManagement isn't very transparent with their decisions, and they don't communicate enough with their employees.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Group One Failed to Adapt to Current Times

    Trader Trainee (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsThey take the time to train you

    ConsIts actually not profitable to be a equity options market maker anymore. Bid ask has shrunk to nothing and this firm uses a delta neutral strategy. They actually hit you with a 200k pnl bill after you start for training costs before you can start making a percentage of your pnl. I was fortunetly let go and retooled as a credit trader. I don't really see a future for companies like as the market has become very efficient and order driven.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPack it up, you've had a very good run Ben.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Insight from a trader

    Options Trader (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsI initially joined Group One as a Trader Trainee. For those of you who are not familiar with this setup here is a bit about how it works. I was hired directly out of school to focus on learning the Group One environment and trading systems with the goal of becoming a trader. During this period I focused a lot on supporting the current traders during part of the day and a fair portion in class learning trading. As I learned more I was given more and more responsibilities until finally I was trading my own products next to an established trader who served as my mentor. Now I am successfully trading my own portfolio.

    Don’t get me wrong this process took the better part of 18 months. During that time I saw MANY of my fellow trader trainees fall out of the program. If you aren’t dedicated and disciplined this really is not a job for you. The classes alone will not make you successful and your success is not graded on a curve relative to the other trainees. You must be willing to spend time after work studying and learning to improve yourself till you know trading backwards and forwards.

    As far as Group One goes I had a couple other offers out of school and I’m extremely glad I took this one. They gave me the tools to succeed without spoon feeding. The trading application is built by in house developers and offers a lot of options/flexibility. The management structure is pretty flat and I see/talk to the CEO, CFO and the risk managers daily. Management is actually interested in my ideas for improving the application/trading opportunity and goes through pains to try and implement them. Support is first class and they bend over backwards to help me sometimes before even I know I have a problem.

    All in all it is a great place to become a trader if you are passionate about succeeding.

    ConsNot the place to go if you are not serious about becoming successful. Hard work is required.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great work environment; progressive and challenging firm; no frills office.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsHighly motivated, intelligent and collaborative colleagues. From my past experience, most trading and development environments are stocked with smart folks that have giant egos but somehow Group One managed to avoid employing this type of employee. Developers and traders are all very high achievers, many are been with the firm for more than 5-10 years and a handful of the 2-5 year traders are very successful. The dress code is quite casual, there are regular poker games and ping pong games after the market closes. Most employees have been with the Group One for many years, so the environment is fairly stable.

    ConsThere were some lean times a few years back but things have seemed to stabilize and quite a few new employees have been hired and some former employees have rejoined the firm. The firms results are volatile but I suspect that is largely due to macroeconomic and industry trends. Our office is a bit of a dump and could use a little renovation, but the location is great.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWe like the communication of firm results – keep it up. Please try to diversify and reduce the volatility of the revenue stream. And a new office would be nice.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Hard Work Not Recognized

    Ops Associate (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    Pros-Opportunity to make a lot of money at a young age
    -very relaxed environment. It's a fun place to work most days
    -Senior Management for the most part is very friendly and approachable
    -I was rejected as a full-time trainee (I was hired on as an intern after I graduated) but I was hired as a full-time ops person with the idea that I could try to be a trainee again in a year or so.

    Cons-New employees are treated like pledges in a fraternity by even the lowest people on the totem pole (HR, compliance, etc.). I understand having to earn my stripes and impress the traders and my managers, but when, from day one, I have more responsibility than people who have been there for years, I'm not okay with them treating me like garbage.

    -Way to Much emphasis placed on "do what I say, not as I do" managers are lazy and shirk responsibility.

    -The best and brightest come here from the best schools in the country (Stanford, Northwestern, Kelley School of Business, MIT) and are relegated to perform menial tasks in the ops department while learning almost nothing about trading. It's no wonder that only 10% to 20% of trainees make it to become traders.

    -I worked incredibly hard as an intern to become a full-time trainee (they routinely hire college grads and interns with the idea that they can become "permanent" employees in a few months) but was rejected as a full time trainee. I understand that I may not have the intelligence or background as most trainees (I went to a well known public school with an awesome business school but was unable to get in) but I want it more than the other guys and did better in ops than they did. This makes me not want to do quality work since apparently it has no impact on the ability to become a trader.

    Advice to Senior Management-I appreciate that you gave me a chance to reapply as a trainee while keeping me at the company, but I don't understand why trainees are basically full-time ops people. Day to day, I do the exact same thing as trainees except they do mock trading for an hour every afternoon. If only 1 or 2 out of 10 top graduates from the best schools can make it to actually begin trading, there is something wrong with the program. Hire ops people to be ops people and trainee traders to learn about trading.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Better than nothing

    Trader Trainee (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    Pros-good name in options trading
    -friendly, laid-back employees for the most part
    -fun work environment (people tell jokes to reduce stress)
    -senior management doesn't act any differently than other employees

    Cons-management on the ops side rules by fear and places too much emphasis in appearing constructive and calm where conversations can be recorded (email, instant message, etc.) and not enough on verbal conversations where excessive yelling is commonplace

    -training program has a 10-20% retention rate, which is extraordinarily low for an established prop firm and speaks to the quality of the teaching

    -Look for strange qualities in their clerks, including laziness (management would rather tell someone to do something than that person taking the initiative), getting frazzled for making mistakes and when things are hectic (I got yelled at multiple times for being too calm), not asking questions (the trainees who asked the most questions got yelled at the most)

    -company trades very specific product in a very specific way, this lack of diversification will ultimately be there downfall and a reason why the company has reduced its headcount by over 50% in the last couple years

    Advice to Senior ManagementOverall I feel that there is too much emphasis on WHAT is being said instead of what management actually EXPECTS. If you want new employees to "show up, don't ask questions, only do tasks that you know how to do, and generally be as invisible as possible" that's fine, but don't tell new employees to "be over-communicative, take the initiative, ask as many questions as possible." This leads to resentment and frustration for all parties involved. If you have a belief about something, have the courage to speak freely regardless of who can hear/see your conversation.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Overall a good firm and good corporate culture, but there are some deficiencies in management on the trading side.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGood work/life balance, quality work environment, hard workers are appropriately recognized, small firm without the bureaucracy of a bigger company, some great Operations managers.

    ConsUpper management has had a lack of foresight in the past, and failed to properly position the firm for imminent changes in the options industry.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your employees more -- there are people with great ideas that could help the firm avoid repeating past mistakes.

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