Belvedere Trading Reviews

Updated Jul 7, 2020

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3.4
66%
Recommend to a Friend
74%
Approve of CEO
Belvedere Trading President Thomas Hutchinson (no image)
Thomas Hutchinson
37 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Traders are pigeon-holed into the trading industry(in 8 reviews)

  • "My outlook of the company's future is negative because of the way the tech side is run(in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. COVID-19

    "Solid company with a promising trajectory"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    1) Belvedere lives their values. Some companies post a list of values on their homepage, but internally don't really even try to live up to them. Belvedere doesn't see these as just some PR line - they actively inform decisions made at the company, both on small and large scales. And it actually works! 2) Leadership is competent, pragmatic, accessible, and flexible. This is a huge compliment coming from me, after the things I have seen, both in the trading and other domains. There are some other reviews here on Glassdoor griping about leadership at Belvedere, but I believe these all fall into one of two categories: - There was a shift in organizational structure some time back, and some were resistant to change. I believe the structure that emerged suits the organization well for the longer term. - Lack of perspective. Belvedere hires a lot of talent straight out of college, and if you haven't worked elsewhere (or several elsewheres), it is difficult to appreciate the challenges leadership faces, and how their decisions impact the big picture. I suspect some of the reviews that criticize our top leadership fall into this category. 3) The culture is a match for me. There is a real feeling camaraderie between team members, and across teams, with the introduction of some new initiatives to break down boundaries between teams. There is an emphasis on solving problems, and a collective interest in solving them well. 4) Reasonable work-life balance. We have unlimited vacation, and people tend to use it liberally and pragmatically. As long as you get your work done, no one will ever complain about you taking that trip halfway around the world you've always wanted to take. Additionally, you're not bound to your chair from 8-5; if you have Life Things that need you to duck out, it's not a problem. 5) Company events are fun and engaging. Sure, there are some at which many drink and let loose, but I personally don't drink much if at all, and I still have a blast. The culture here is significantly less "programmer bro" or "finance bro" than any other trading firm I have worked for, and is trending in a good direction (from my point of view at least). 6) Compensation is pretty darn good. The bonus system seems a bit strange and complicated when you first learn about it, but it does a good job of balancing predictability of bonuses while still allowing for a big payday if you knock it out of the park. 7) The office pretty awesome, and the perks are great. Excellent location, beautiful office space, stocked kitchen with snacks and beverages, game room, regularly rotating kegs (beer and wine) for after work drinks if you're into that. Lunch credit daily for Fooda deliveries. Occasional in-office chair massages. Lastly, I need to commend Belvedere at their response to Covid. Weeks before things hit a tipping point, there were many meetings among leadership to figure out how to keep everything going if worst-case scenarios started coming to be. I remember laughing a bit about this, as I simply could not imagine Covid turning into this level of incident. But when the time came, they had everything in place for almost everyone to work remotely, with only the most minimal skeleton crew in the office. I am still shocked at how quickly and seamlessly this came into being. This level of remote work is (to my knowledge) unheard of in the trading industry, and yet we got it all together with very few difficulties.

    Cons

    1) On rare occasions, the work can be demanding and stressful. This is not the normal state, and it doesn't last for long. This is a generally function of market conditions. All of that said, the level of compensation adequately makes up for these spikes. 2) If you are a software engineering purist who has not worked in trading before, you may be frustrated by the times when you must cut corners and write sub-optimal code in order to get something "good enough" out the door. Belvedere is pretty good about revisiting these "good enough" components and fixing them, but if you can't live with that for a bit, the trading industry is probably not for you. 3) Internal documentation is not the greatest, so you will often find yourself reading through code and asking others how everything fits together. There are ongoing efforts to fix this, but it will take some time. 4) Requirements are often a bit vague; this can be either a pro or a con, depending on your personality. Looser requirements can mean you can do as you wish to accomplish the objective, but you also often have to do the legwork to fill in the blanks. 5) Sometimes the soda machine runs out of syrup for a day or two. Oh no, how will I survive?

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  2. "Good opportunities to learn embedded in a toxic culture with minimal transparency"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trader 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Belvedere Trading full-time

    Pros

    - Extensive training program for new hires - Lots of smart people - Traders can make their own decisions - Fun company events like fundraisers, potlucks, and a holiday party - Perks include education reimbursement, intramural sports funding, and 1:1 charitable donation matching

    Cons

    - Most of the traders are extremely cocky, defensive, and aggressive - Heavy drinking/smoking culture - Frequent offensive (e.g. racist, sexist) comments with ineffective attempts by management to mitigate - Minimal transparency or opportunities to discuss career expectations and progression - Strong investment in recruitment doesn't carry over to current employees - Air of secrecy trickling down from upper management - Minimal interaction between trading, business, and tech teams - Opportunities to contribute outside of pre-defined role don't start until a few years in - Lack of trust in the technology and acceptance of inferiority to certain peers - De facto CEO doesn’t seem to have a strong understanding of trading, he was the CTO who filled the CEO role after the CEO took a step back - Open dialogue and expressing opinions is encouraged but doing so usually results in being shut down by more senior employees - Opaque bonus structure

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  3. "Good company"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great perks, Fast paced envt

    Cons

    Very political, upper management favors certain people

  4. Helpful (12)

    "Passionate Discourse"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Belvedere does a lot of things the right way in regards to software architecture. Their patterns generally make sense and are uniform across teams when possible. There is an attitude of doing what's best for the company rather than what's best for just you or your team. The compensation is solid. The bonus scheme is overcomplicated to make it seem transparent but it always comes out to a number I'm content with. Most employees are a lot of fun to work and hang out with. I've made a lot of friends at Belvedere.

    Cons

    Belvedere's culture has undergone a subtle change over the years. There is still a lot of drinking and recreation but it is now officially sponsored by the company in a way that makes it feel more sterile. In years past, when going out for drinks after work it felt like I was among friends who happen to work together. But then they formalized things that used to happen organically, like team building events or happy hour with job candidates. They even installed a bar in the office. The result is that now I'm very much aware that I'm out with coworkers, not friends. It's social but still a work event. Better than nothing but it doesn't foster the same kind of bonding. My outlook of the company's future is negative because of the way the tech side is run. The wrong people were put in charge. The CEO has some grave misunderstandings of how the company works at a low level because he doesn't talk to anyone outside of his inner circle. Consequently, all of his decisions clash with the reality of a prop trading firm. The CTO has good intentions but is easily manipulated by others. Below them managers (at all levels) fall into one of three categories: 1. Absentees. People who have already earned enough prestige in the company to be set for life. That's why they can abuse the unlimited time-off policy and get almost no work done. When they do come into the office they have to act like they deserve their position so they order everyone around and criticize their subordinates. It does nothing but illustrate how out of touch they are with the world of software development. 2. Time-wasters. People who have demonstrated just enough competence to be given a wide leash when choosing what they want to work on. They now spend all of their time on pet projects that they think would be fun programming exercises, yet deliver no value to the company. When their project ceases to entertain them they hand it off to another team that doesn't want it because it is at best unproductive, at worst riddled with bugs. 3. Geniuses. People who were skilled software developers so after a couple of years they were promoted into management. They have no management skills. No leadership qualities. They just want to write code. Unfortunately that's not in their job description anymore and you can see the sadness in their eyes. They spend their time struggling to run a team and trying to find ways to touch code without micromanaging. They were offered a job that would be foolish to turn down but that they were not fit for. Ultimately their poor management skills cause a lot of tension and anger within the firm. Then further down Belvedere's hierarchy you have the role of business analyst. I suspect the CEO read in a Forbes magazine that business analysts were the key to increasing profits so he hired about a million of them. Your typical business analyst likely just graduated from college and didn't know what to do, so they searched for “analyst” on LinkedIn and found Belvedere on page 32. They had no previous knowledge that such a job existed. Belvedere set up this role under the assumption that traders and developers speak such different languages that they need an interpreter/babysitter. You would think someone who understands both trading and tech would be the most valuable employee in the company, right? Unfortunately because of the demographic that's recruited the business analysts at Belvdere understand neither. This lack of qualifications turns their role into needless bureaucracy that causes more harm than good. There is an endless churning of analysts as they quit to pursue jobs they're actually interested in. Somewhere mixed into all of this are developers. Developers don't get along with each other at Belvedere largely because of “code police”. On almost every team there's at least one developer who just binge watched House M.D. for the first time and now they think they are justified in being abrasive as long as they are trying to excel at their job. They will leave passive aggressive comments in the code review system and delay projects for what the rest of the software world would consider trivial style choices. The company embraces this in a naive pursuit of perfect code while making all of their developers hate each other. Lastly there are quality analysts. The wildcards united only by their mutual distrust of developers. But interestingly enough, they have the most camaraderie out of any role at Belvedere. They realized early on that any bugs in the software will be blamed on them, so they meticulously document everything they do and follow all recommended procedures just to avoid that blame. The biggest indictment of the tech side however is that 90% of its members don't care about option trading. They don't even understand how Belvedere makes money. That's why the quality of software has been suffering. Most tech employees are hired fresh out of college with no background or interest in finance. This is also why Belvedere spends most of its time refactoring existing software components instead of building new features. You don't need domain knowledge to get rid of technical debt. Any time business logic is changed there is massive overhead in educating everyone involved. So they fool everyone into thinking that getting rid of technical debt is a productive use of time under the guise that the firm is growing and things need to be made more scalable. The catch is that Belvedere doesn't seem to be growing by any relevant metric except the number of office floors they rent. New trading desks are very slow to take off and new employees hired only replace the ones that quit. They really don't need to be concerned with scaling up the software.

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  5. COVID-19
    Helpful (5)

    "Total disregard for your safety"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good office, lunch, snacks. Efficieny and talented coworkers.

    Cons

    The building had a confirmed case of Covid 19 and they still wont have a clear remote work policy even for team members whose job functions can easily and efficiently be remote. Says a lot. You are a resource, we care to enough so you dont blame us. Perhaps thats true about most employers - its cerrainly true about this company.

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    Belvedere Trading Response

    March 19, 2020Belvedere Trading

    While we typically do not respond to our reviews, it is necessary to address one that questions our commitment to the safety and well-being of our team members. As our company-wide communication has continued to indicate, leadership, the human resources team, and all managers prioritize the safety of our team members above all else. Our team is available and eager to hear your comments and take action to satisfy your concerns as we navigate these challenging times; please reach out directly. We are taking the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and want to reiterate that our team members’ safety is our top priority.

  6. Helpful (9)

    "The disappointing trend continues"

    1.0
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Trader 
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time

    Pros

    None at this time, hoping things will change for the better.

    Cons

    Another favorite of former CTO (current CEO) rises to C Level with zero experience and little knowledge that the real position demands. He seems to be doing the same as he has done year over year with making undeserving employees partners and now he has proved again that it is important who you know well rather than what you know.

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  7. "Good Company"

    3.0
    Former Employee - Trader 

    I worked at Belvedere Trading full-time

    Pros

    pay and benefits as well as ceo

    Cons

    culture is too hard work focused

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Wonderful place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - An amazingly supportive manager and growing team of skilled individuals - Quick learning is expected, with growth and change highly encouraged - Open and constructive dialogue on how to improve and automate processes - Management listens to employee feedback and makes changes - Goal setting is emphasized - Work life balance is promoted - Unlimited PTO - Culture is the best I’ve experienced in the industry - I love the dedication to giving back to our community that we promote through volunteering opportunities and matching company donations

    Cons

    No cons at this time

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  9. Helpful (5)

    "Realized Happiness higher than Implied by Glassdoor"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Truthfully, Belvedere is not a 5 star company. But it is almost certainly not a 3.3 star company, as some reviews would have you believe. Out of 300 employees over the past few years, 10 have written pretty bad Glassdoor Reviews. That sucks. Every employee I've talked to about our Glassdoor feels that the low reviews are from some of the most jaded / negative ex-employees and a rating <4 is unwarranted. Take everything (positive and negative) you see here with a grain of salt. It's a great company, at least 4.5 stars. We have one of the absolute best models that allows us to trade and price things some groups have difficulty pricing. When the bottom falls out of the market, when the algos turn off, when ES is 3 ticks wide and liquidity vanishes on *the most liquid product in the most liquid market on Earth*, we are one of a handful of market making firms that's unafraid to trade size, make markets, provide liquidity (God's work, I know) and make money. All because our tech is pretty good and our training/education is even better. Belvedere is one of the few jobs and companies that gets to provide this type of energy, pressure, and reward. The reviews that mention stagnation and a lack of innovation could not be further from the truth. Vol managers, hybrids, tech leads, and managers are constantly pushing out new ideas, features. We've gotten into a rhythm where we can prototype hybrid projects or trader feature requests in prod almost instantaneously and pass them to SEs to execute and ensure robust code. I'm surrounded by other traders who are eager to figure out how to trade and manage a desk better. Our SEs are extremely smart and are pretty passionate about shipping out good code. It's just a shame not many of our employees take the time to write Glassdoor reviews.

    Cons

    Some roles have less structure and more entrepreneurial in nature. HR / People team can do much better about integrating new hires that start off-cycle Traders are pigeon-holed into the trading industry. If you would ever want to get out of trading (not many do), it usually requires going back to school. Not an issue for SE/Hybrid/Product Since we have no hard limit, employees aren't anchored to a number that is the "right" amount of PTO, so some people feel pressure to not take any PTO. Should encourage a min & soft max PTO.

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  10. Helpful (3)

    "Top Notch"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Belvedere Trading full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    My experience working at Belvedere so far has been incredible. There are some really talented individuals here who understand trading and trading systems and have a strong record of success. As someone who has worked at different firms in the industry, the culture they foster here is undoubtably unique. We're in a business that is notoriously known for being "cut-throat" and all about business. So far I've seen a lot of effort in promoting a balanced culture in a industry that is innately stressful. There is a lot of effort in promoting career growth as the company really invests in their employees. There's a strong training program and smart people leading it. People generally are encouraged to speak their mind and voice opinions on ways to improve the company in all aspects, as much of this open dialogue is encouraged. There are a ton of intelligent and unique people and many of the changes made the last couple years has been geared towards getting some of their great ideas put into action. There was change with one of the main partners leaving a few years back mainly with them adopting a new organizational system. Its proven to be an effective system of implementing these new ideas. The vibe for the future is really positive.

    Cons

    The tech systems are strong but definitely has some room for improvement especially in growth areas of the market. Sometimes it seems to take a little too long for new innovation to get rolled out. One of the pros about being so employee friendly can also be perceived as a con if people are taking advantage of the entreprenurial structure and the freedom it brings. ie. unlimited time off structure can get abused. Open dialogue sometimes leads to unproductive whining.

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Found 64 reviews