Billionaire Cohen’s deputy leaves open door to managing outside capital

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen, whose firm has been limited to managing Cohen’s personal fortune since SAC Capital Advisors pleaded guilty to insider trading-related charges, may begin managing money for outside investors once it is allowed to do so in 2018, his top deputy said on Monday.

“We will only seek outside capital if it helps us deliver on our mission,” Doug Haynes, president of Point72 Asset Management, said at the Absolute Return Symposium in New York on Wednesday. He said the mission was to maximize investor returns, develop talent and operate under ethical standards.

Point72, SAC’s new name, was one of Wall Street’s most successful hedge fund firms, earning an average 25 percent return after fees in one of its funds during its 20-year history as a hedge fund manager, according to former investors.

The firm now invests Cohen’s personal fortune and a small amount for some employees, representing a total of $11.1 billion as of January. SAC had managed $14 billion at the start of 2013 before returning capital to outsiders.

Haynes noted that the firm has been aggressively trying to change its culture and recruit new investment professionals. A number of former money managers have left in recent years and have since launched their own firms.

Haynes said the firm has “sufficient capital for what we need today. We are not capital constrained. We are talent constrained.”

He added that “We’ve also never been an asset accumulating firm so there won’t be any drive to get big for the sake of getting big.”

Point72 has approximately 1,000 employees, including more than 350 investment professionals, according to its website.

Questions about whether Cohen will reopen his fund to outsiders has been a burning question on Wall Street since the plea.

Haynes elaborated on Point72’s three-pronged mission.

One is to “deliver the highest risk adjusted returns,” an industry term for strong performance. Point72 gained 15.5 percent net of costs in 2015, according to Haynes, a year in which the average hedge fund lost money.

Second is to “provide the best place for the industry’s brightest talent to develop” and third is to operate with “the highest professional and ethical standards,” according to Haynes.

“We will only bring in outside capital if it is necessary to continue on that journey,” the former McKinsey & Co. consultant said.

Editing by David Gregorio