First Derivatives Reviews | Glassdoor

First Derivatives Reviews

Updated May 25, 2017
173 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.2
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First Derivatives CEO Brian Conlon
Brian Conlon
115 Ratings

173 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • FD gives you a very generous food allowance once placed on client site (in 10 reviews)

  • The expenses system is outdated and needs a revamp (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Fantastic Opportunity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Consultant in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Junior Consultant in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The ability to travel and live in the worlds greatest cities at an early age is fantastic

    Cons

    HR isn't growing at the same rate as the consultants so can be quite difficult to get hold of

    Advice to Management

    Have a larger HR to tackle issues sooner for on site Consultants


  2. Helpful (8)

    "Good place to get started"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graduate Programmer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Graduate Programmer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Exposure to multiple tier-A financial institutions and senior members of staff. The CEO is a good man and if you have good character, people bend over backwards for you.

    Cons

    Wearing a suit as a computer programmer. Pay is quite low, this leads to a general feeling that your accomplishments are not valued, as you get paid the same as someone who watches YouTube all day.

    Advice to Management

    Please pay employees more, if you want a successful and stable business then show emplyees that they are valued.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Growth brings growing pains."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Organization is growing and positioned well to do well in the future. Management making good strategic decisions.

    Cons

    Growing pains of a company trying to do a lot. Disorganization at times. Management is struggling with how to be a large global company and will go through fits of no oversight to micromanaging.


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  5. "Providing opportunities you may never had thought possible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Scientist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Data Scientist in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Travel opportunities
    Free accommodation in the world's biggest financial centres
    Daily Expense Package
    In-house technical and financial training
    Young, friendly & enthusiastic employees
    Ambitious yet helpful management
    Smooth transmission for graduates into the workforce

    Cons

    There can be uncertainty as to where you could be deployed, and when
    Lack of expenses when in Newry


  6. Helpful (41)

    "FD are so stingy and spiteful, you won't be paid your last month's expenses when you eventually do quit"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - you might get lucky and end living abroad after a month

    Cons

    - huge turnover, very few people stay beyond a few years, reason is obvious: FD underpay, and don't do enough to keep their more experienced staff who find better jobs elsewhere.
    - Note most of the positive reviews here are from employees who have recently joined, you are lead to believe that you are on the way to a substantial salary and proper respect after graduation. This is unfortunately not so, want proof? See what percentage of people stay beyond graduation, seems to be much less than 50%.
    - management's attitude comes across as very aggressive
    - the company is extremely stingy, all apartments are furnished with the bare minimum, e.g. in the budget list, if you are moving into an unfurnished room you are only allowed to buy a 100 pound mattress
    - you will likely be sent to a country without a visa, which after a few times could lead you to being blacklisted
    - CEO will likely swear at you, this intimidates a lot of new graduates (swearing is not limited to graduates however).
    - if you try and leave the company to a better job, the CEO seems to take pride in trying to sue you (for taking a job with a competitor or client), he even brings it up at the xmas party
    - when you resign, it is likely you will NOT be paid your last month's wage or expenses

    Advice to Management

    - emails from management tend to seem very aggressive, most employees I know instantly express our mutual disappointment to each other whenever this happens
    - pay out people's expenses when they quit, what kind of spitefulness is that?


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good employer if you are interested in working abroad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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.


  8. Helpful (11)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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


  9. Helpful (4)

    "FD offers a fast track career with many opportunities"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "A place to be entreprenuerial"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Growing company; needs to evaluate employee experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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.


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