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Why small proprietary shops (prop shops) are better fit for a wanna be quant analysts and quant developer like me?

(Last Updated On: July 25, 2010)

Why small proprietary shops (prop shops) are better fit for a wanna be quant analysts and quant developer like me?
Screw them large investment banks for now. Here in Toronto, the local Canadian banks pay very very low. As larger banks like Merrill Lynch and Citi start to build their hubs locally here, I am starting to realize I might be better off in a small proprietary shop (also known as prop shows). You learn more and pay better.
We have a few ones which seem to be larger like Algorithmics or Waterfront International, but you might as well have a PHD or other advanced degree like a Masters in Finance. I only have my Bachelors of Commerce which means I am not going very far as compared to the recent youngsters with a Masters.
I started to realize as their might be an opportunity I can be part of. It is a small prop which seems to be virtually an unknown local company. That is fine by me and I am sure fine with the founders of this company. As they have no external clients to impress, they only have themselves, other internal traders to satisfy.
From my understanding, this same company depends one on strategy they have developed. As they have six traders, and two info technology, they seem to be doing well. They can be self sufficient as well as pay quite well. I mean for a local unknown prop shop, they are the highest paying as compared to local Canadian bank. When you think about it, that is a very sad statement for the local Canadian bank scene. Not only is poor paying, but they are highly conservative where you will not learn a whole lot working for them.
As a result, when this small prop shop came around, I started thinking this is where I belong. All their systems are internally house built in C# and C++. They are definite Microsoft .NET shop which I am very fine with. Also, they have built all their servers, protocols, and trading systems by one person. It is one hundred build from their own source meaning that you WILL learn a lot of more and faster as compare to some conservative bank. This is why I feel more comfortable in a small prop shop like this. I hope this can work out for me.

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