“There’s no way Stevie Cohen is running the next Galleon,” a former trader with Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital told us.
We were having drinks at a holiday party in the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. He had approached us after reading some of our coverage of recent hedge fund insider trading scandals.
“When I was there, we put tons of pressure on our brokers to make sure they gave us any information they had fast and first,” he said. But this was an indication that the firm wasn’t engaged in insider trading.
“If you have the inside scoop, you don’t need to be pestering analysts to call you first,” the trader said.
He never witnessed anything he would consider “even borderline” insider trading in his time at the firm, the trader said.
“There’s a difference between ‘hot’ information and ‘inside’ information. ‘Hot’ means you get it the moment it becomes public. ‘Inside’ is the moment before,” he said.
The trader described the enormous, football field sized trading floor at SAC as “the cleanest in the biz.”
In closing we asked how Damien Hirst’s shark is doing. The first shark rotted before Cohen purchased the work of art. A second shark had to be professionally emalmbed by technicians from London’s natural history museum, at Coehn’s expense. So we wanted to know how the shark is holding up.
“It’s not in the office. I think it’s at the Met or the MoMA. Like, for a couple of years,” he said.
He knocked his scotch against ours and wandered off into the crowd.