This Is What It's Really Like To Work For Stevie Cohen

Steve Cohen on the SAC Capital trading floor

Photo: Bloomberg

Bloomberg learned a lot on their recent tour of SAC Capital’s Stamford office.Their cover story this month is all about the hedge fund and its founder, Steve Cohen. What they found reveals a lot about what it’s like to work at SAC:

  • You might sit next to Cohen (he sits right in the middle of the trading floor)
  • Phones don’t ring, they just light up. Cohen doesn’t like the noise. (We also know he has a thing against the whirring sound computer fans make.)
  • The temperature is exactly 69 degrees (kind of cold, to keep people perky)
  • Cohen yells “Do you even know how to do this f—ing job?” frequently
  • But he’s funny. He emailed everyone before Lehman collapsed in 2008: “It’s all up to the government now. I have no idea what will happen. Good luck to you all. This is a recording.”
  • Portfolio managers either make money or they’re fired. They usually last about 4 years. (20 portfolio managers were fired or resigned in 2008.)
  • Everyone works weekends (at least Sunday, when everyone has to call Cohen between 5 and 9 pm and give him updates on the companies they follow.)
  • The interview process can take 14 months and the background check is really extensive. The joke is that Cohen will find out the name of a candidate’s second-grade teacher.
  • If you send “Stevie” an idea that makes money, you get paid “something extra.”
  • You will most likely make a TON of money: Cohen charges a 3 and 50 (3% management fee and as much as 50% of profits.)
  • Your IMs and emails are monitored by a staff of 20 “compliance officers” 
  • If you’re a manager, you’ll have to sign a contract with a “down-and-out” clause. It means that if you lose 5 per cent from your peak assets, SAC can take away half of what remains. Suffer a 10 per cent loss, and you could be out.
  • The office is kind of like a small scale art gallery – with works by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol hanging near the trading floor.

Also, a lot of people are in total awe of him.

Steve Cohen’s Greenwich House

Photo: Bloomberg

And one of SAC’s portfolio managers says working there is like working for the New York Yankees (it always wins and everyone who is not a fan is a hater.)His awesome lifestyle might have something to do with it.

The guy lives in a $14.8 million Greenwich mansion that has an indoor basketball court, an outdoor ice rink and a two-hole golf course (see left).

He’s also got an art collection worth around $450 million.

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