Chess website brings entrepreneurs together

Long Island Business News, Dec 17, 2010 by Jessica DiNapoli

Chess is a game of strategy, critical thinking and analytical skill. So is investing money, making a chess website the perfect birthplace for Long Island’s newest hedge fund.

Bohemia-based Genius Hedge Fund, formed in January by serial entrepreneur A.J. Caro and his two Toronto-based associates, is slowly gaining momentum in a post-Madoff world of skittish investors who are content to sock their money safely away in banks. The three game enthusiasts think their fund will be a success based on their chess-cultivated analytical skills, computer technology experience and network of contacts.

Caro first met Alex Rabinovich, who won a junior world championship for chess as a teen, on an online chess forum in 2002; Rabinovich was teaching Caro, a social chess player, some tricks. Even though they were in two different countries, the relationship flourished and grew over the years into a close friendship and business partnership. Rabinovich met Victor Plotkin, a professional financial investor, on another chess website in 2004 and a few years later, after many trips back and forth between Toronto and Bohemia, the three decided to start up the Genius Hedge Fund.

The trio officially launched the fund in January, and Caro has the utmost confidence in his partners, explaining that their chess abilities are what have helped the Genius Hedge Fund, so named because all three have IQs above the genius level, generate more than 18 percent returns on the money under management so far.

“He has an amazing gift for analytics,” Caro said of Rabinovich. “It’s very clear – his ability to see what most don’t see, sequences and patterns and how they correlate into investing.”

Analytical skills honed by chess are a desirable trait in the finance world. Richelle Konian, a Manhattan-based recruiter for financial firms across the tri-state area, said analytical skills are highly desired by employers. “Games like chess and poker, if you are really good at it, would translate into quantitative skills,” Konian said. Of the 60,000 resumes in her applicant database, 400 have listed chess as an activity, she noted.

Robert Frey, a former managing director at East Setauket-based hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who started his own Port Jefferson-based fund of hedge funds, said it is not at all unusual that a group of chess buddies decided to start up a hedge fund. Working at a hedge fund is an exceptionally demanding job intellectually, and many people who enjoy those challenges gravitate toward mentally stimulating hobbies, like chess, he said.

Even with a chess champion on staff, Caro has had to work extra hard to avoid the Bernie Madoff-Nick Cosmo fraudster taint. He uses his experience and track record with his seven other businesses, including a licensed insurance agency, the ever-growing Arrow Security and a marketing firm, to give the Genius Hedge Fund credibility.

“I’m an established business person,” Caro said.

If something were to go wrong in his hedge fund, there would be serious ramifications for his other ventures, he said. Caro is taking the plunge with the hedge fund because of his trust in Rabinovich and Plotkin.

So far, the partnership has worked. Since the fund’s founding nearly a year ago, the associates have brought in a total of $1 million to manage, Caro said. Frey said while $1 million is not much to start with, it’s enough to figure out whether or not the business will sink or swim. He started FQS Capital with $120 million, but he has many connections to investors from his Renaissance Technologies experience.

“It’s not something that could sustain the fund,” Frey said, explaining that hedge funds are expensive to run because of the cost of the talented, highly educated staff, subscription to databases and new computers.

Hedge funds need to get to the $100 million under assets mark to be viable, Frey said.

Caro’s sights are not set quite that high just yet. He aims to have $10 million under management by the end of 2011. To start up the Genius Hedge Fund, the three partners went to their friends and family for money, a tactic reminiscent of Madoff and Cosmo, but a common one in any startup business, Frey emphasized.

“Like any business, you go to friends and family, people who have faith in you,” Frey said.

Caro plans on branching out his network of investors beyond his kin as soon as possible. Just last week he hired a business development manager who will begin a marketing and sales campaign. Caro added that Rabinovich and Plotkin have discussed deals with investors in Zurich, Manhattan and Israel lately, a sign that the Genius Hedge Fund has wide appeal.

While January seemed like the worst time to start a hedge fund, Caro’s said that now is the best time to make money, when interest rates on other investment options are low.

“Our success will be based on public awareness that the fund exists at this point and that it’s a good solid investment alternative,” Caro said.

Copyright 2010 Dolan Media Newswires

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

New York (October 14, 2010) UAlbany Alumni Richelle Konian Moderates School of Business Event at Hard Rock Café

The annual School of Business NYC event, held at the Hard Rock Cafe this year, featured a “Conversation with the President.”


University at Albany President George Phillips and School of Business Dean Donald Siegel attended and fielded questions from the crowd.  Richelle Konian ’95, CEO, Careers On The Move, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, moderated the event. 

For More Details Click Here

Fixed income a hot area in slow jobs recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A fixed-income trading boom fueled profits across Wall Street last year and is sparking hiring this year, recruiters say, as banks hope for a repeat performance in 2010.

RY.TO), Jefferies Group (JEF.N) and Nomura Holdings’ (8604.T) U.S. unit as primary dealers of U.S. Treasury securities. These companies have since splashed out on hiring traders and sales people to support this new business.BARC.L), and Jeffrey Michaels from Citigroup Inc (C.N) to co-head its fixed income business in the Americas. The pair, who joined in October, said they plan to hire more people.MF.N), which does not have primary dealer status, has hired staff in anticipation of getting the Fed’s green light.

“There’s been a fair amount of musical chairs in fixed income,” said Lisa Zonino, a consultant at search firm Egon Zehnder in New York.

Banks that did well are hiring because they expect more business, while banks that did not do so well are hiring because they want to catch up with competitors, Zonino said.

The super-liquid markets for bonds, interest rates and currencies have gained appeal for banks and their customers, who are still smarting from losses on complex debt securities and stocks that plummeted amid the financial crisis.

The game of musical chairs began in earnest last year when the New York Federal Reserve named RBC Capital Markets (

Nomura hired Charles Spero, previously at Barclays (

Jefferies also built out its fixed income business with hires in Europe and Asia. Futures and options broker MF Global (

Still, at the larger banks, it’s hard to tell whether new positions in fixed income are being created or if the hiring is simply to replace employees poached by the new entrants.

Certainly, headcount levels across Wall Street are still lower than before the financial crisis, according to Richelle Konian, co-founder and Chief Executive of search firm Careers On The Move.

And there is a preference for hiring cheaper, more junior staff rather than splashing out on top managing directors, Konian said. “People are being very cost-conscious right now with hires,” she added.

The exception is for senior executives with proven client relationships, said Gary Goldstein, founder and president of recruiting firm Whitney Group.

“There seems to be a fair amount of activity looking for senior coverage,” he said.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

Good Background, Strong Skills – And No Job?

Richelle Konian, CEO and Co-founder of Careers On The Move, a boutique executive search firm in Manhattan, was interviewed and quoted in the following article.  For further company information, please visit 

Jobs in the Money

 Good Background, Strong Skills – And No Job?

by Myra Thomas – February 4, 2009

 Despite a perfect resume, flawless references and years of experience, some finance professionals are finding it difficult to land a job suitable to their skills. Even people who’ve put in time at Big Four accounting firms or well-known investment banks have sometimes gotten less-than-receptive reactions from prospective employers.

 According to Richelle Konian, co-owner of New York City-based Careers on the Move, an executive recruiting firm focused on the finance field, many professionals are simply missing the right opportunity by not specializing in one sector or another.

 To understand what specialties are in demand and what areas of the country are particularly receptive to someone with your background, Konian says it’s essential to stay abreast of the marketplace. You might find out there are simply too many people with the right credentials vying for the same position in your state. ”If someone advertises now for a financial analyst, you might see hundreds of resumes from qualified individuals,” she notes.

 Probably the biggest failure most professionals make is not keeping their appearance, education or networking skills up-to-date. When they’re busy and times are good, people often let such tasks go, Konian says. Eventually, however, they’ll need to go out on that job search again. When they do, it’s important to be properly attired, equipped with up-to-the-minute knowledge about their business, and a personal network to help them find a new position.

 ”Contemporary executives shouldn’t be afraid to use technology to distinguish themselves from the competition,” says Don Straits, CEO of Corporate Warriors, a corporate outplacement, executive coaching, and career management firm based in Sacramento. An online resume that highlights financial accomplishments goes a long way toward piquing the interest of a human resources manager. So can including a video introduction of yourself on the site.

 Straits adds that many resumes resemble tombstones. ”Far too much time is spent talking about the skills of the past, and far too little emphasis is placed on the executive’s ability to generate bottom line results,” he says. ”A better way to do it might be something like, ‘For the past four years, while I was a key member of the team, I helped to generate annual revenue growth in excess of $4 million a year as illustrated by the following graph.’ ”

 First published June 14, 2006

Wall Streeters seek work while drowning sorrows

Richelle Konian, CEO and Co-founder of Careers On The Move, a boutique executive search firm in Manhattan, was interviewed and quoted in the following article.  For further company information, please visit:

 Wall Streeters seek work while drowning sorrows

Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:05pm EST

By Rebekah Kebede

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the financial crisis bites deeper, laid off Wall Street employees used to fielding calls from head-hunters or hearing of jobs through their contacts are searching for new ways to find work.

And sometimes they get to drown their miseries at the same time.

One such opportunity was a “Pink Slip Party” at a midtown Manhattan bar on Tuesday night which drew about 500 people who enjoyed cheap drinks, networking, and a chance to find a new job with the 25 recruiting firms that attended.

The cover price at the party, sponsored by, an online recruiting firm, and Wall Street blog, was $20, or roughly what a employed Wall Streeter would normally drop for a midtown Manhattan martini.

About 13,000 Wall Street jobs have been cut this year and that number could swell to 35,000 by the time the crisis is over, the New York State Comptroller’s office estimates.

At the Pink Slip Party Wall Street workers wore pink neon glow bracelets to show their unemployed status exchanged cards and resumes with recruiters. Many seemed resigned to a long and perhaps fruitless search.

“I’m getting interviews, but the feedback that you get is that they put (the job) on hold,” said Dave Cerza, who was laid off from insurance and financial services company AXA in February after working there for eight years.

“A lot of these people that are in this room are not going to have jobs in this industry,” said job-seeker Kevin McKiernan.


Some of the largest firms on Wall Street have either collapsed or been restructured in the aftermath of the credit crisis that hit wall street earlier this year.

The 150-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-September and Bear Stearns, another large investment bank was sold to JP Morgan.

Jobs may now be in short supply but advice on how to find one was plentiful on Tuesday night. The consensus among recruiters: keep expectations in check.

“Be reasonable,” advised Jack Roth, the managing partner of Distributed Technology Solutions, which specializes in technology jobs in financial services.

Flexibility is also important, recruiters said.

“A lot of people think, I’m going to get the same job I had. That’s not necessarily true,” said Richelle Konian, CEO of the recruiting firm Careers on the Move.

Some recruiters offered advice on dealing with the emotional frustration of getting the dreaded pink slip.

“Release your anger. Write an angry note to your boss, put it in an envelope and tear it up,” said Lou Casale, vice president of corporate communications at

McKiernan has resigned himself to spending time with his family and working on his “bucket list” — the list of things to do before he “kicks the bucket”, or dies — before looking in earnest next year when there may be more jobs open.

“Maybe I have to broaden my horizons to another industry,” McKiernan said. “In the meantime, I’m jumping out of a plane.”

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Storey)

Jobs in the Money

Richelle Konian, CEO and Co-founder of Careers On The Move, a boutique executive search firm in Manhattan, was interviewed and quoted in the following article.  For further company information, please visit:

Jobs in the Money

Think Carefully When Weighing Counter Offers

by Myra A. Thomas in New Jersey – July 24, 2007

Have an offer on the table? While candidates are enjoying good times, with employers dangling more money and higher bonuses in a bid to get them to jump ship, local recruiters say you should think twice before accepting any generous counteroffers from your present employer.

Accounting professionals in New York and New Jersey are obviously happy to find more than one employer is vying for their talents, says Richelle Konian, a partner at New York City-based Careers on the Move, an executive recruiter serving the financial services industry. “Firms are paying more, since most people are getting more than one offer. This means that companies need to commit to an offer quicker, and they are being a bit more flexible on the qualifications, as well.” In the past, she says, employers weren’t satisfied with accountants who might possess most of the skills sets for the position. “They wanted people with 100 percent of the skills.”

Today, however, with the area market tight, “they are willing to take someone with 85 percent of the required skills, and are ready to train them in the rest.”

Jeanne E. Branthover, managing director and head of the global financial services practice for search firm Boyden, agrees. “People now have a choice of where they want to move and what they want to make,” she says. “It’s becoming harder and harder to recruit.”

Still, Branthover cautions to look before you leap, and to think twice before accepting any counteroffers your current employer might make. “We’re finding that when clients are telling their current employer that they are leaving and that they have an offer, they are getting large counteroffers – larger than we have seen in some time – to stay,” she says. “We’ve seen people tell their employer that they are leaving and the firm’s partners simply won’t accept the decision. They’re then wined and dined and descended on with nice lunches and more.”

Before you accept the counteroffer, consider why you thought about leaving in the first place, says Branthover. “Money is wonderful, (but) you need to make sure the role or the situation that made you want to leave is going to change for the better,” she suggests. “Most of the time people are looking to change jobs because they’re unhappy with the conditions, and not necessarily the cash.”

Money Does Talk

Today, with salaries on the rise in the region, CFOs and controllers, especially those working in financial services firms, are able to command larger salaries, bigger bonuses, and more job guarantees than in the past, says Branthover. Although bonuses generally come in February, many have been able to get a guarantee of a partial position after about six months on the job, along with a raise, as well.

“Even those in middle-level positions are seeing greater increases, with pay up some 20 percent and more in the package deals,” Branthover notes. There are now upfront guarantees and more offers of business equity, though she adds equity isn’t the big lure that it used to be. “People want to know about the cash,” she says.

UAlbany Alumni Receive Awards for Professional and Community Service

Richelle Konian, CEO and Co-founder of Careers On The Move, a boutique executive search firm in Manhattan, was honored at the following event.  For further company information, please visit:

 UAlbany Alumni Receive Awards for Professional and Community Service

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 24, 2008) — The University at Albany Alumni Association announced its 2008 Award Winners, selected for excellence in service to their profession and community. Awards will be presented in education, business, community and public service, entrepreneurship, science and technology and distinguished achievement in professional life. An award will also be presented to a Citizen of the University for outstanding contributions by a non-alumnus or alumna. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award will recognize early achievements in a chosen profession or field of service, or service to the community.

Young Alumni Award
Richelle Konian, B.S. ’95

In 2000, Konian founded the Manhattan-based recruiting firm, Careers On The Move, which specializes in risk management, investment/asset management recruiting and investment banking and valuation recruiting. For several years, Konian has been named a top recruiter for information technology by Waters magazine and has been profiled in Wall Street & Technology magazine.

Prior to co-founding Careers On The Move, Konian spent several years at a Wall Street software development and management consulting firm, Jordan and Jordan, where she developed a recruitment/sales division for the banking and brokerage industry. She also launched the Financial Information Forum, a consortium of broker dealers, vendors and exchanges whose mission is to provide a collaborative environment for subscribers to benefit from technology, regulatory and market innovations.

Konian serves on the University at Albany’s School of Business Advisory Board and works with the school’s Office of Career Services to help students obtain internships and jobs upon graduation.

Ah, Those Memories of Silicon Alley

Richelle Konian, CEO and Co-founder of Careers On The Move, a boutique executive search firm in Manhattan, was interviewed and quoted in the following article. For further company information, please visit:

Ah, Those Memories of Silicon Alley

BYLINE: By STACY COWLEY, Special to the Sun

SECTION: BUSINESS; Pg. 11, DATE: February 16, 2005

Like Camelot, Manhattan’s “Silicon Alley” existed only for a few brief shining years in the late 1990s, when any tech-savvy dreamer with decent PR skills could attract venture financing and breathless media coverage for his or her start-up business. A lucky handful made millions from judiciously timed sales of stock in the dozens of New York dot-coms that went public. Countless others were left with nothing to show for their 80-hour weeks but worthless stock options and drawers crammed with free T-shirts. On a recent evening, veterans of New York’s tech boom reunited at Manhattan’s Discotheque nightclub for a “Back in the Day” party jointly organized by several of the era’s surviving networking organizations. The ostensible occasion was the 10th anniversary of the World Wide Web Artists Consortium, a group for Web developers that launched with the dawn of Netscape in December 1994. Nostalgia was the party’s real catalyst. “A bunch of us were talking and saying, ‘it’s been a while since we all got together,’ so we decided, let’s just merge our lists make something happen,” said Allison Hemming, who enjoyed brief celebrity as the creator of the “Pink Slip Party” gatherings that brought laid-off workers together for networking and commiseration when the economy began tanking. Ms. Hemming is also the president of The Hired Guns, an interim staffing agency that places designers, copywriters, and other creative freelancers. Pete Mutolo, Paul Hollett, and Rob Winter watched their business soar in the 1990s as Internet mania took hold – then fall off a cliff in 2001. “We got slaughtered,” Mr. Hollett says, by the double-whammy of the dot-com crash and September 11, 2001. Business was scarce for years, but Mr. Winter says he began noticing improvement last summer. So far this year, that momentum has been building. “I’ve gotten three proposals in three days,” he said. There are some signs that companies and investors are ready to get back into the technology game. Venture One shows New York IT investment increasing $100 million from 2003 to 2004. Job hunters say they’re starting to see more opportunities. Two co-founders of search firm Careers on the Move circulated through Wednesday’s party. “The difference in the job market now is that it’s really, really specialized,” said company principal Richelle Konian. After several lean years, the five-year-old firmis finally placing people again at a steady clip, she said. Still, her business partner Kathleen Sheehan expressed a glimmer of longing for the old dot-com days. “When we started, it was so easy,” she said. “We used to say, ‘If you have a pulse, we can find you a job.”

‘Fairness Opinion’ Expertise Sought in N.Y.

Read the whole article here.

Companies are specifically looking for CPAs with FAS 141 and 142 expertise, according to Richelle Konian, co-founder and chief executive of Careers on the Move, a New York-based executive placement firm. “They want accountants with experience working on solvency issues, offering fairness opinions, or working in valuing tangible assets,” she says.

Konian says CPAs in this area of accounting should consider obtaining their CFA and ASA designations. She predicts that the New York and New Jersey region will stay hot in this area for some time to come.

Survival Tips for Floor Traders

Richelle is featured in an article recently! Read the whole article here.
Feb 12 2008
By Myra A. Thomas

Tip #3: Get Off the Floor.

You can capitalize on specialties to get out of trading. Richelle Konian, chief executive and co-founder of Careers On The Move, an executive recruiter based in New York City, has placed a number of traders looking for opportunities related to – but not directly in – the financial services space. “With their knowledge, understanding trades and having a specialty in derivatives, they can go to the software-vendor side and serve as an advisor…. Those familiar with fixed-income products, for instance, could be on the options or derivatives side, and they understand the algorithms and the financial modeling, acting as a great resource on the vendor side.”

For now and for some time to come, risk management software needs will remain high for most firms, particularly on the credit derivatives side of the business.

Careers on the Move