A former Soros Fund Management portfolio manager claims he is owed at least $US19,523,898.29 (yes, down to 29 cents) after being fired from the hedge fund in 2011, according to a complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Aaron Cowen, 42, is suing Soros for unpaid performance fees, management fees and pipeline revenue as well as alleged fraud, Bloomberg News reported.
Specifically, Cowen claims he’s owed $US3,027,327 in performance fees from January 2011 to August 2011; $US986,857 for August 2011 performance fees; $US10,509,714.29 for performance fees from September 2011 to April 2012; $US2,000,000 in management fees; and $US3,000,000 for liquidating his portfolio following his termination.
We’ve put in a request for comment from a Soros spokesperson. We will update as warranted.
According to the complaint, Cowen was approached in the fall of 2010 to join Soros Fund Management to run equities for a “long time” and that he would finish his career at the firm.
At the time, Cowen was working for Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Management as the Chief Investment Officer and portfolio manager.
“You are going to make a lot of money for me and you,” the lawsuit claims Soros told Cowen during the recruitment process.
In January 2011, Cowen joined Soros. He was offered a $US500,000 base salary plus incentive fees.
At Soros, he managed a long/short equities portfolio with $US500 million in assets for the Quantum Fund. According to the complaint, Cowen was told he would be managing a $US1 billion in assets by the end of the year.
While many portfolio managers were struggling during volatile times, Cowen’s portfolio suffered no losses. The lawsuit claims that then-CIO Keith Anderson told Cowen he was “the best long/short PM here”.
Around July 26, 2011, Cowen was terminated, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit said Cowen wasn’t provided an excuse or reason for his termination.
July 26, 2011 was also the day that the news broke that Soros Fund Management would operate as a “family-office” hedge fund and that money from the Quantum Fund would be returned to outside investors. Of the $US26 billion in assets only about $US1 billion belonged to outsiders.
After receiving his termination letter, Cowen had a friend set up a half-hour meeting with George Soros at the billionaire’s Southampton home.
“I don’t know why you were let go. You were doing very well,” the lawsuit claims that Soros told Cowen.
After being terminated from Soros, Cowen went on to found Suvretta Capital Management, which has more than $US700 million in assets under management according to a Reuters report.
Cowen currently resides in a gorgeous home on the Upper East Side located at 131 East 64th Street. According to Corocoran’s website, the six-floor home complete with a swimming pool was listed for $US18.5 million.
He began his career at Lehman Brothers in the mid-90s on the fixed income desk. After that, he had stints at the Baupost Group, Paloma Partners/Amaranth, Karsch Capital Management and SAC Capital.
Cowen graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in finance and bioengineering. He received his MBA from MIT. (You can see an older photo of him here »)
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a former trader take legal action over compensation.
Just last month, former Goldman Sachs trader Deeb Salem filed a petition claiming that his $US8.25 million bonus the bank awarded him in 2010 was too low.