Over the last several years, as nearly a dozen former SAC Capital employees have been convicted of securities violations, the firm has taken many steps to redefine its image, from one of a bastion of insider trading to one where such actions are not only frowned upon but strictly prohibited. Such steps include but are not limited to: paying over $1 billion in fines; changing its name; and turning itself into a family office. Last month, Point72 Asset Management, AKA the hedge fund formerly known as SAC, even went so far as to announce that it would be monetarily compensating employees for “setting a proper tone and example on compliance and doing the right thing.” You’d think that all of these things– including the fact that a whole bunch of ex-SAC employees are doing time– would go far to deter people currently working at the hedge fund from engaging in insider trading. And yet, someone in Stamford apparently thought it was necessary still to take away one final temptation from them. Read more »
As many of you know, Dan Loeb is something of a pioneer in the activist investing industry. Sure, there were others doing it before him, but he made a name for himself when it came to the art of disemboweling his targets via pen and paper. And while he continues to send various public company CEOs and their boards his trademark letters (all of which include a potent, poetic blend of sarcasm, self-regard, belittling attacks on management competence, and lengthy prescriptions for change), Loeb is not content to sit on his laurels vis-à-vis fucking up the universes of his objects of scorn, or to get left behind in the 20th century of activist investing. In April 2012, he debuted a blog exclusively devoted to his proxy battle against Yahoo– the first of its kind!– and today, he’s unveiled his latest reinvention of the wheel: a short film about Dow Chemical, complete with ominous music that is sure to haunt your dreams and make the Koch brothers proud. The film is a certain finalist for best picture at the Proxies, an annual awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievement in the hedge fund industry. Read more »
Herbalife failing to fall off a cliff notwithstanding, the hedge fund manager and his clients have a lot (of money) to smile about. Bonus: it looks like Bill won’t have to bust his ass to find houses to flip in South Florida just yet. Read more »
Area CEO Loves Listening To Dan Loeb Tell Him How Much He Sucks, Can’t Wait For More Where That Came FromBy Bess Levin
Dow Chemical’s management team are “going to be great listeners” to ideas from shareholders on improving the company’s performance, its chief executive Andrew Liveris has promised. Speaking as the company reported better than expected earnings for the third quarter, Mr Liveris said on Wednesday that he had been continuing to speak with Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital and other shareholders about how to raise Dow’s share price…Third Point, an activist hedge fund, in January revealed it had taken a stake in Dow and called for the group to be broken up, saying it “woefully underperformed” over the past decade…On Wednesday Mr Liveris denied that he had an “adversarial” relationship with Mr Loeb or other investors, and promised to listen to their analysis, but said he sometimes had to point out to them where they were wrong. [FT]
Point72 Asset Management, AKA the hedge fund formerly known as SAC Capital, whose largest client by far is a guy who answers to the name Steve Cohen, has turned in some pretty decent performance so far this year, despite a series of events that have led it to do stuff like, among other things, monetarily compensate employees for staying on the right side of the law. Read more »
Steve Cohen Introduces Incentive Bonus For Employees Who Refrain From Insider Trading (No, Really, This Is Actually Happening)By Bess Levin
Time was, the unofficial policy at (the hedge fund formerly known as) SAC Capital was that one could earn a pretty penny come bonus season if one made the firm a ton of money, and if that money happened to be made through material non-public information well…whatyougonnado? At SAC Capital 2.0 AKA Point72 Asset Management, however, insider trading is not only frowned upon, it’s both officially and unofficially a bad idea and one that could cost you big time on payday (though one would obviously be fired before that, unless payday is the day they get caught).
But just because the company handbook has been rewritten, or Steve Cohen has held a town hall where the words “If we catch you insider trading, I’ll stick my hand down your throat and rip out your spleen” have exited his mouth, or the hedge fund’s propriety trading software has been rewired so that a cartoon Cohen pops up on the screen and says “Remember, I can make it look like an accident” before any trades are placed, doesn’t mean that people can change their ways in a day. Old habits die hard, particularly at a place where those old habits could score you 8 figures a year.
Which is presumably why* someone at Point72 came up with this: Read more »
F.B.I. Agents Took Inspiration From I Know What You Did Last Summer In SAC Capital Insider Trading CaseBy Bess Levin
Over at the New Yorker today, you will find a long piece exploring the coming undone of the hedge fund formerly known as SAC Capital, now Point72 Asset Management, at the hands of a trader formerly known as Ajai Thomas, now Mathew Martoma. Although nearly a dozen ex-SAC employees have been charged with and convicted of securities fraud over the last several years, it was really the work of work of Martoma, accused in November 2012 of orchestrating “the largest insider trading scheme ever” and found guilty last spring, that was the straw that broke the embalmed shark’s back. Particular details to note:
* While SAC has a history as an extremely cutthroat place to work, where the “down and out” clause means traders are cut loose swiftly and without hesitation, and insults from on high are in no short supply, it was no match for the household of Martoma’s youth, headed by a guy who could teach Steve Cohen a thing or two.
When Martoma’s father first came to America, he was admitted to M.I.T., but he could not afford to attend. He retained a fascination with Cambridge, however, and prayed daily that his oldest son would go to Harvard. Martoma graduated from high school as co-valedictorian, but he ended up going to Duke. Shortly after Mathew’s eighteenth birthday, Bobby presented him with a plaque inscribed with the words “Son Who Shattered His Father’s Dream.”
* Steve Cohen has continued his long and storied tradition of displaying once-living things in boxes at the 72 Cummings Point Road headquarters.
S.A.C. was a notoriously intense place to work. Its headquarters, on a spit of land in Stamford, Connecticut, overlooking the Long Island Sound, are decorated with art from Cohen’s personal collection, including “Self,” a refrigerated glass cube, by Marc Quinn, containing a disembodied head sculpted from the artist’s frozen blood.
* That anecdote that circulating a while back about how Martoma had fainted on his front lawn when approached by the Feds? It wasn’t the mere sight of them, or some sort of line about how they knew he’d been trading on material non-public information that caused him to collapse, but rather this: Read more »