Steve Cohen is getting closer to making a comeback

Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, the CEO of family office hedge fund Point72 Asset Management, is getting closer to managing outside money again.

“I am pleased to announce that I have resolved the administrative case filed by the SEC against me two years ago,” Cohen wrote in a letter to the firm’s employees.

The SEC said on Friday that Cohen would be barred from running outside money until 2018 as part of a settlement that he failed to supervise a former SAC trader convicted of insider trading.

“Provided that we maintain our world-class compliance programs and continue to adhere to the high ethical standards defined by our Mission and Values, we can expect to again be able to manage outside investments, effective January 1, 2018,” Cohen wrote in the firmwide letter.

He later added that having the opportunity to accept outside capital doesn’t necessarily mean the firm will.

A spokesperson for Point72 Asset Management declined to comment.

Insider trading

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.”

There was speculation that the SEC would be seeking a lifetime ban from the hedge fund industry, the Wall Street Journal reported in July 2013.

In November 2013, SAC pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1.8 billion settlement.

As part of that settlement, SAC also agreed to return outside investor capital. Soon after, the fund changed its name to Point72 Asset Management.

Point72 currently operates as a “family office” hedge fund that manages Cohen’s wealth and the money of its employees, which comes to about $11 billion in assets under management.

In December, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was abandoning its case relating to Cohen’s failure to supervise former SAC trader Michael Steinberg. Steinberg’s conviction was overturned last fall.

The SEC maintains that Cohen failed to supervise Mathew Martoma, another former trader who worked at SAC subsidiary CR Intrinsic Investors who was convicted of insider trading in shares of pharmaceutical companies, Elan Corporation and Wyeth.

In the last two years, Point72 has made changes and stepped up its compliance efforts. A number 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.

Cohen said in the letter that this settlement with the SEC doesn’t mean the firm can become complacent.

“The settlement — is not and cannot — be a reason to become complacent. We must continue to do business at the highest ethical and professional levels and in a way that is fully transparent to our regulators, counterparties, future employees, and potential future investors. We will remain industry leaders — not followers — in compliance. Doing so requires each of us to continue to adhere to these high standards, every day, without exception,” Cohen’s letter said.

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