Cohen Preparing for a Comeback

Billionaire Steve Cohen, the former head of the firm SAC Capital Advisors—which pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion fine—is considering starting a new hedge fund, according to a recent Bloomberg article.

While Cohen wasn’t charged with wrongdoing in the case, he was barred from managing outside capital until January 1, 2018 and was required to convert his shop to a family office. According to the article, his “returns are just beginning to rebound after 18 months of barely making money at his family office, Point72 Asset Management. He’s now up about 5 percent year-to-date, according to people familiar with the performance.”

But given the increased flow of investor funds to passive investing strategies, it remains to be seen if Cohen will be able to regain his “superstar status,” the article says.  Brad Alford, a former SAC investor who now runs consultant search service Alpha Capital Management, says, “Markets have changed and there are still a lot of questions around how the new firm will be structured,” adding, “It remains to be seen whether he can rebuild to his former glory.”

The article concludes: “Cohen’s plan for a comeback comes as the industry faces increased challenges. More hedge funds closed in 2016 than in any year since the financial crisis and lackluster performance and high fees have driven clients away.”