Call it Karma. After serving a four-year ban from managing outside money when his old firm pleaded guilty to insider trading in 2013 and paid a record $1.8 billion fine, Steve Cohen’s return to managing money has been rocky and fraught with scandal.
And as it happens, the firm’s returns have suffered, too.
Absolute Return is reporting that Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management posted a loss in February after starting to trade outside money for the first time – like many hedge funds – was rocked by the “volocaust” blowup that hammered hedge funds (even forcing 1.2 Fund to report a 60% monthly drop to its limited partners due to the events of Feb. 5). Another firm, Chicago-based LJM Parnters, lost 50% of its assets in a single day – a lights-out scenario.
Cohen’s return to managing outside money has been marred by a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against the firm, and against Cohen personally, by a former female employee. That report led to the ouster of the firm’s president, Douglas Haynes, who reportedly stepped down late last week.
While the size of the loss wasn’t immediately available, they’re hardly surprising. Returns for Cohen’s fund reportedly improved last year as markets soared, after the storied trader notched his worst returns since the financial crisis in 2016 (it posted a paltry 1% gain).
Back in January, Point72 reported that it had about $90 billion in regulatory assets at the beginning of the year – an 8-to-1 leverage ratio. Bloomberg pointed out that this was double the leverage used by SAC Capital Advisors before it was shuttered by the Feds. Cohen had sought to raise the firm’s AUM to $20 billion, but according to its website, it has roughly $11 billion AUM. Insiders have more recently said Cohen’s current target is in the $3 billion to $4 billion range.
Cohen’s annual returns at SAC averaged 30%.