The quant who left Citadel for Opendoor

Hi, Aaron Weinman here. Let’s talk quantitative traders, or “quants.” They’re arguably Wall Street’s most-prized mathematicians.

They ply their trade at hedge funds or high-frequency trading firms, and they’re known to pocket a pretty penny.

Take Daniel Morillo — he spent decades developing quant-trading research but in 2020 he became chief investment officer at Opendoor Technologies, the online buyer and seller of homes.

Morillo is the latest “quantrepreneur” in Insider’s series about quants who ditched Wall Street for startups.

Let’s dig into his story.

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1. Daniel Morillo helped supercharge the algorithmic homebuying business at Opendoor. His experience in algorithmic trading, data science, and modeling for quant-trading research has helped the antiquated online homebuying industry morph into a marketplace for a raft of property owners.

But his move to Opendoor came out of left field.

Born and raised in Ecuador, Morillo came to the US in the mid-1990s. He worked at PanAgora Asset Management, BlackRock, and in 2015 he joined Ken Griffin’s Citadel. He was head of equity-quant research and had strong relationships at the hedge fund, where he managed 70 people.

And despite multiple attempts by Bay Area friends to snare Morillo’s services, a move to the disruptive tech world seemed out of the question.

He was skeptical of some startups, and questioned whether they were truly innovative.

But Opendoor was different. It offered Morillo a chance to apply algorithmic trading to an industry in need of technological change.

Here’s why Morillo — one of Wall Street’s top quants — ditched the lucrative hedge-fund space for Opendoor, and helped turn the homebuyer into a market maker in its own right.

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Source:: Businessinsider

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