Izzy Englander sent his Millennium Management staff to work from home in early March. Since then, about 100 people have quietly joined the $42 billion hedge fund.

He’s not the only one snapping up talent as a deadly pandemic roils markets and upends offices. Dmitry Balyasny has recruited 12 portfolio managers at his eponymous firm this year, and Michael Gelband’s ExodusPoint Capital has added 20, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Across the industry, hiring by multimanager shops is on pace with last year’s robust level.

The spree by such firms, which can use upward of 200 teams to invest, is a bright spot in a $3 trillion industry where many have shrunk or closed. Their need for managers, analysts and data scientists has caused pay to creep up, with some initial packages exceeding $20 million and the percentage of investment profits managers earn topping 20%. Non-compete clauses have lengthened as firms strive to retain their stars.

“In the past year the competition has increased -- it’s quite fierce at some of the bigger firms,” said Michael Karp, chief executive officer of recruiter Options Group. “It’s a great time for hedge funds to upgrade, and they are looking to lift people out” of firms that lost money in recent market turbulence.

Multimanager shops tend to be most in need of new talent. They are quickest to cut teams or traders who lose money because of their tight risk limits. And their assets have surged. New York-based Millennium manages more than four times what it did a decade ago. At $32 billion, Ken Griffin’s Chicago-based Citadel has almost tripled in size. This year, the platform shops are standing out for making money while many other hedge funds are down.

Newer entrants have added to the demand. The $8.8 billion ExodusPoint, opened in 2018, recently raised an additional $3 billion. Smaller outfits such as Verition Group and Cinctive Capital Management, which both oversee about $1 billion, have been adding managers too.

Working from home hasn’t slowed hiring because recruiters generally track targets over months or years, waiting for the right time to poach them.

In the past several weeks, Millennium announced two high-profile additions. Matthew Rothman jumped from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help run the quant business and Peter Norley is coming from Credit Suisse Group AG as a top recruiting executive.

The competition for talent has been reshaping the employment landscape in recent years, with some firms rolling out strategies to thwart poaching or at least minimize the spiraling costs.

In 2018, Citadel poached two senior managers from D.E. Shaw, the $50 billion firm founded in 1988. The next year, D.E. Shaw started using non-compete agreements as long as a year to “protect the franchise,” the New York-based firm told employees in a memo.

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