| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 7 One of Wall Street's most
successful hedge fund managers, SAC Capital Advisors' Steven
Cohen, told of one of the most terrifying days of his life on
Speaking at a New York City veterans event, the usually
private money manager revealed his personal connection to the
war in Afghanistan, and why he has focused on the welfare of U.S
military veterans in his role on the board of a New York charity
with deep Wall Street ties.
"A few years ago my son, Robert, came home from college and
told me he made a decision: He wanted to become a Marine," Cohen
said in prepared welcome remarks at the Robin Hood Veterans
Summit in Manhattan. "Like many parents who hear this in a time
of war, I was shocked."
Cohen told the audience aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid that
watching his son graduate from basic training at Parris Island,
a U.S military base where Marines are trained, was the "proudest
day" of his life.
It was followed by the "most frightening day," when Robert
was shipped off to Afghanistan. His son has since returned from
the front line. "He's doing fine," Cohen told attendees aboard
the retired aircraft carrier, but "many of his former comrades
The Robin Hood Foundation, founded by hedge fund manager
Paul Tudor Jones in 1988, has raised $13 million over the past
year to launch the Robin Hood Veterans Fund, which has donated
more than $4.7 million to programs based in New York City that
help war veterans and their families get back on their feet
after a tour of duty.
Cohen co-chairs the charity's Veteran's Advisory Board with
Admiral Michael McMullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
The Robin Hood Foundation is synonymous with Wall Street
charity, and its board includes a laundry list of some of the
industry's biggest names, including hedge fund managers like Lee
Ainslie and David Einhorn, and investment bankers such as JP
Morgan Chase's Jes Staley and Goldman Sachs Group's
Staley spoke on a panel at Monday's event, alongside Goldman
Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, who has made a rare
series of public appearances in recent weeks at a time when Wall
Street is desperate to fight against its reputation as greedy
and out of touch with the economic struggles faced by many
Americans. The accusation has been leveled at the industry by an
invigorated Occupy Wall Street movement.
While typically press-shy financiers tend to avoid the
spotlight if they can, charity offers them an opportunity to
show a friendlier face.
Cohen is tight-lipped when it comes to his Connecticut-based
hedge fund but is a regular on the New York charity and art
social circuit. In his remarks Monday he focused on finding jobs
for returning troops.
"Today, our nation's unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, and
we consider that to be unacceptable," Cohen said. "Yet for our
veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the unemployment
rate is a stunning 29 percent."
"That is disgraceful - and it has to change."
Robin Hood recently committed $600,000 to the Workforce1
Veterans Career Center, an offshoot of the city's Department of
Small Business Services that will offer priority job placement
help to veterans beginning this summer.