NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters) - A former portfolio manager at Soros Fund Management sued the hedge fund firm founded by billionaire George Soros for nearly $20 million, accusing it of reneging on promises to pay him performance and other fees.
Aaron Cowen was employed by Soros Fund Management, which manages Soros’ money, from November 2010 through July 2011, according to the lawsuit, filed July 3 in New York state court in Manhattan.
Cowen claims he was fired without cause, that he never received performance and management fees due him, and that the firm’s refusal to pay and provide his track record has hampered his ability to raise capital to start a new fund.
“I don’t know why you were let go,” the lawsuit quotes Soros as telling Cowen days after his termination. “You were doing very well.”
Soros Fund Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did George Soros.
Cowen worked as chief investment officer and portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors before joining Soros’s firm.
He initially managed a securities portfolio with $500 million of assets for Soros, and was promised a base salary of $500,000, plus performance and other fees, according to the lawsuit.
Cowen generated $34 million between January and July 29, 2011, when he was terminated, earning him a fee of $3.9 million, the lawsuit said. His ideas also generated $30 million in revenues in Soros’ chief investment officer’s book, earning him another $1.5 million, it said.
In total, Cowen claims he is owed some $20 million, including more than $11 million in pipeline performance fees he would have earned up to April 2012, some $4 million more in 2011 performance fees, $2 million in management fees and at least $3 million in compensatory damages from the liquidation of his portfolio after his departure.
After he left, the firm cherry picked his portfolio for its most profitable positions, which were moved ito its funds, and sold off the remaining positions to his detriment, according to the lawsuit.
Cowen sued for breach of contract, fraud, interference with his contract following termination, and labor law violations.
The case is Aaron Cowen v Soros Fund Management, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan), No. 652055/2014. (Reporting By Karen Freifeld, editing by Andrew Hay)