Steve Cohen has banned hiring from under-fire hedge fund Visium

Visium employees, take note: Steve Cohen doesn’t want you.

Point72 Asset Management, the investment firm led by Cohen, is not hiring from Visium Asset Management, the controversial hedge fund that on Wednesday saw some of its employees charged with insider trading, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Cohen is concerned about reputational risk from hiring from a hedge fund under fire, the people said.

The policy predates the announcement of the investigation at Visium from earlier this year, one of the people added.

Point72 put Visium on a “no-fly-zone list” as soon as rumours about a potential investigation began to circulate, the person said.

That spells bad news for workers at Visium. Employees have been looking for havens since the firm came under investigation, according to several people familiar with the situation. They are having more trouble finding new jobs now that charges have become more serious and public, one person said.

Cohen is no stranger to controversy surrounding insider trading. His SAC Capital Advisors at its peak ran $US16 billion before the Securities and Exchange Commission shut it down, banning the hedge fund from managing outside money in 2013 after settling insider-trading claims. SAC pleaded guilty in 2013 to securities fraud and Cohen later launched Point72 Asset Management as a family office to run his personal fortune.

Since then, Point72 seems to be gearing up to open up as a hedge fund again — meaning it will take outsiders’ money — even if it officially is staying mum.

Cohen has steadily been rebuilding his brand, hiring communications consultants and building out an investment research training program for college students and recent grads.

Over the past year, Point72 reps have also taken up the hedge fund conference circuit, with Cohen himself speaking last month at the Milken conference. He said there that it was proving difficult to find talent for the firm.

Point72 says it employs about 1,000 people worldwide, and it has said it won’t necessarily accept outside money when a Cohen-led organisation is allowed to do so in 2018.

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