Mission: We aim to create value for end investors, in all market conditions, around the world. We do this by improving the bid-ask spread resulting in consistent, fair and competitive prices.
We'll be at the University of Pennsylvania tomorrow for a Meet & Greet and Tech Talk. Be sure to stop by our booth at Levine Hall lobby to pick up some swag and learn more about Optiver .
Later in the evening we are hosting a Tech Talk with an Optiver Senior Engineer where he'll share engineering lessons learned in the industry. We hope to see you there!
Is "more testing" your standard solution to preventing future errors? At Optiver we take a different approach. Learn more this week on our tech blog.
Over thirty years ago, Optiver started business as a single trader on the floor of Amsterdam’s European Options Exchange. Today, we are a leading global electronic market maker, focused on pricing, execution and risk management. We provide liquidity to financial markets using our own capital, at our own risk, trading a wide range of products: listed derivatives, cash equities, ETFs, bonds and foreign currencies. Our independence allows us to objectively improve the markets and provide efficiencies for end investors.
With over one thousand Optiverians globally, our mission to improve the market unites us. Thriving in a high performance environment, we pioneer our own trading strategies and systems using clean code and sophisticated technology.
People at Optiver love challenges, welcome collaboration, and strive to be better tomorrow than they are today. Improving the market is an extraordinary challenge that requires an extraordinary approach. Optiver provides a collaborative working environment to tackle these challenges. In fact, it is this way of working that sets us apart. Traders, developers, researchers and a large support team join forces with a unified sense of purpose. At Optiver, we believe that people with the same goals and values bring out the best in each other.
Trading is who we are and what we know. The landscape has changed rapidly over the last three decades and has meant that we have had to change with the times. We offer prices in a wide range of financial products globally. When the markets are open, our traders are primed to be externally competitive and internally collaborative, focusing on executing the best trades. When they are not trading, their focus shifts to checking positions and improving trading strategies and systems. In addition to having outstanding quantitative skills, our traders have a deep understanding of market trends. These skills allow us to continuously strive to offer the most fair, tradable prices in all market conditions.
At Optiver we leverage technology to solve a variety of problems with high degrees of difficulty: managing scarce bandwidth resources, responding to market events in microseconds or less, automatically pricing diverse sets of financial instruments with extremely low error tolerance, and storing and analyzing terabytes of data. Our systems are built to add to the stability of the market, not detract from it; they must operate at peak efficiency in the most extreme market conditions. These systems must also be simple, flexible, and well-architected so they can quickly change to meet the dynamic needs of our industry. Technologists at Optiver work hard, think creatively, and engineer rigorous solutions that make an immediate impact.
The setup of our researchers is different to what you might expect. Here they work hand in hand with our traders to spot opportunities, exercise their analytical skills to build models, and then work with our technology teams to see them delivered. Markets continuously evolve and our models and strategies adapt with it. It’s a challenge that requires high-level mathematics and data science with a generous dose of creative thinking to ensure we have the edge in increasingly competitive markets.
Our roots are in Amsterdam where we started in 1986. Optiver Europe trades out of Amsterdam and is now active on all major European equities and derivatives exchanges as well as exchanges in the US and Brazil.
Optiver US is Chicago based, the derivatives capital of the US, and is active on several of the leading exchanges in the US market.
As part of Optiver Asia Pacific, our Sydney office is one of the primary players within the Asian option markets, trading a range of products on all the relevant markets. Sydney is the APAC head office with operations in Taiwan & Hong Kong.
As part of Optiver Asia Pacific, our Shanghai office is a fast-growing participant in the Chinese market, trading commodities and futures.
I have been working at Optiver full-time (More than 8 years)
I've worked at Optiver a long time. Every year it gets better.
- The company is managed on the basis of principles and values, not process or politics.
- Those principles and values align very nicely with mine:
-- Autonomy: there is very little hand-holding and extraordinarily high expectations of individuals in the company. The company rewards those that keep pushing those expectations higher with greater responsibility and authority.
-- Collaboration: there are a lot of great fights over the right way to approach a given problem. When we're at our best, everyone in the fight has a strong opinion but is also listening to everyone else and continually re-evaluating that opinion as new information, ideas, and opinions are expressed.
-- Prudence: the company carefully evaluates risk/reward trade-offs both when it comes to trading and technology decisions. The latest fads (cryptocurrency, esoteric programming languages, etc) are carefully evaluated, but reckless pursuit of them is frowned upon.
I'll end with a sports analogy. Working at Optiver Chicago is like playing for the Patriots or the San Antonio Spurs. It certainly isn't for everyone. But if you like competing for the championship every year and always pushing yourself to be better, there's no better team to join.
If the company values do not align with yours, you will find it an increasingly frustrating place to work. Honestly, just read the cons from other posts and you can see how that plays out. If you find the principles above strange, out of fashion, or backwards, you'll agree with other people's cons. If you think those principles are refreshing, you will have a hard time coming up with many cons.
Advice to Management
Keep preaching principles, keep ensuring the best people are happy, keep pushing us to ever higher standards, and don't worry about the noise from people who should be playing for a different team anyway.
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Optiver.
Optiver reached out to me after finding my resume online. It was a very quick process. I had a 30 minute behavioral interview, which felt very natural. After that, on the same day I was given a hackerrank which I had a full week to complete. The challenge was very doable and I had 24 hours to solve three problems which did take a few hours (not the usual one hour challenge; it was a "project" which I suggest you use your best coding practice on). After that, I was invited on-site. This consisted of four interviews - a code review of the hackerrank, a design interview, which was basically a technical interview but without coding, a behavioral interview, and an executive talk with the CEO and CTO. Overall, the experience was great. To be honest, I thought the behavioral interview didn't go great because my interviewer was very adamant about "only the best can get a job here" and you have to "be the best not to get cut".
The whole process took probably only three weeks so props to Optiver because from my experience some companies take months even if their interested in you.