First Derivatives Reviews | Glassdoor

First Derivatives Reviews

Updated January 16, 2018
191 reviews

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3.4
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First Derivatives CEO Brian Conlon
Brian Conlon
125 Ratings

191 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • The onboarding process when joining client site is frustrating (in 11 reviews)

  • They could definitely update the expenses system (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Fantastic Opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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. "Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Nice People
    Interesting projects
    Great location

    Cons

    Intern program is still new and needs to be built out

  3. Helpful (9)

    "Staffing Agency for Irish Kids"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at First Derivatives full-time

    Pros

    It's an Irish company, so lots of subsidized drinking events.

    Cons

    The business model is to hire Irish kids straight from university, pay them low wages, and staff them into banks at a healthy profit. It's worked for nearly 20 years, except now US visas are harder to secure, and London-based banks have stopped staffing in the UK due to Brexit.

    So if you are Irish and thinking of joining this company to travel the world, you can expect to do transaction monitoring in Poland.

    If you are a US citizen, you can almost certainly find a better place to work. They claim to be a consultancy, but they are most certainly a staffing agency. If you join, expect to be pressured into taking a role you don't want by a napoleonic sales guy in a polyester suit.

    Advice to Management

    Just because you've been doing something the same way for 20 years doesn't make it best practice.


  4. Helpful (10)

    "Good for a year or two, nothing more"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at First Derivatives full-time

    Pros

    This is a great place to start off after university. You will maybe get a chance to go to some of the most exciting places in the world and get great experience and face time with some senior people on your projects.
    They do pay for your accommodation, flights and you do get an expense package.

    Cons

    Since the company is full of young Irish/ Northern Irish graduates, the whole company has a real sense of immaturity in it. Even from the senior management. Other reviews here have said there is no culture within the company. There is, but it is not a good one.Some of the graduates fresh in are very immature and there is a lot of unfriendliness to be found if you are not seen as "one of them", which can lead to a toxic living situation as you will likely end up living with some people you simply will not get on with and do not have the capacity to be mature about the situation.
    The expenses system is very old and cumbersome to use and can result in a lot of mistakes/ missed payments.
    You can be thrust onto a client site with no experience or background knowledge of what you are supposed to be doing. I really do not know how there business model has not blown up in their face.
    While you may be put onto a client site in an exciting location with a chance of an interesting project, that is rare. More likely you will stay in Newry for a long time (which they are honest about) and you may end up on a very boring project. (Nature of the job)
    Be careful when you quit are they may be hard to deal with.
    As it if full of graduates, there does not appear to be much in the way of progression in the company. I would suggest staying a couple of years and then leaving onto the next job, to actually start a "career".

    Advice to Management

    Clean up the expenses system to make it more user friendly.
    Have a stronger handle on the culture of the company because currently it is not a friendly place to some people and can be an unpleasant work environment. Especially when you are on site away from the company. A lot of these graduates need to be made aware they are now in the real world and not in college.
    Be more flexible on letting people role off projects and get on to new projects to keep people engaged.


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Good place to get started"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Growth brings growing pains."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

  8. Helpful (43)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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?


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Good employer if you are interested in working abroad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  10. Helpful (66)

    "Avoid- career killer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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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