Notoriously press-shy fund manager Steve Cohen appears to be trying to rebrand his super-secretive hedge fund after a couple of difficult years.
In a surprising move, Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management (formerly SAC Capital) allowed reporters in its Stamford, Connecticut offices on Wednesday.
CNBC’s Kate Kelly was even able to do two live hits from the trading floor too.
Unsurprisingly, Cohen, 58, didn’t appear on camera or do an interview. He was at his desk somewhere off in the background making trades, according to Kelly.
Now here’s the thing, according to Bloomberg News, Point72 isn’t doing all of this publicity to raise outside capital.
This media push is happening because Point72 wants to leave the past behind and move forward with a cleaner image that enables it to hire top talent. That said, Bloomberg News did notice that some of the traders are still wearing their SAC embossed fleece vests.
In the summer of 2013, SAC was criminally indicted on insider trading charges. Federal prosecutors charged the fund “with criminal responsibility for insider trading offenses committed by numerous employees and made possible by institutional practices that encouraged the widespread solicitation and use of illegal inside information.” In November 2013, SAC pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $US1.8 billion settlement.
As a result, SAC also agreed to no longer manage outside capital. The fund changed its name to Point72 Asset Management and it currently operates as a “family office” hedge fund that manages Cohen’s wealth and money of its employees, which comes to about $US11 billion in assets under management right now.
There have been a number of changes at the firm since it had closed its doors to outside investors and renamed itself following an insider trading guilty plea about 19 months ago.
Most notably, some of the firm’s executives have left and it’s now under a new management team working alongside Cohen. One of the key hires has been former McKinsey & Co. director, Doug Haynes, who originally joined the fund has the head of human capital and was responsible for implementing a surveillance program. Haynes is now the fund’s president.
At the same time, the firm has increased its headcount by about 100. This year, Point72 was recruiting on college campuses and there are more than two dozen job openings being advertised on the fund’s recently launched website.
Cohen rose to prominence in the first place for his consistent, grand slam returns. It looks like he’s still posting good numbers. Point72 was up more than 13% last year, beating the S&P 500, according to Kate Kelly’s report. For comparison, the average hedge fund returned just above 3% in 2014.
So far this year, the fund is up about 8.5% through the first week of May, according to Kelly.