SAC Capital loses staff in Hong Kong at challenging time

Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:20pm EDT
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By Nishant Kumar

HONG KONG (Reuters) - SAC Capital Advisors, run by hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen, has lost seven staff in Hong Kong and relocated five others there to New York and London, according to regulatory filings and people familiar with the matter.

The departures come at a challenging time for the firm, with investors in February submitting redemption notices to pull around $1.7 billion from the $15 billion fund following a U.S. insider trading probe. Cohen has not been accused of wrongdoing, but the investigation led to the arrest of veteran portfolio manager Michael Steinberg in March, one of Cohen's closest confidantes.

The departures also underscore the broader theme of a struggling hedge fund industry in Asia, where investment returns have missed expectations. SAC says it still aims to build its business in the region.

"We see the Asia and Japan market as a dynamic opportunity to grow our business," SAC Chief Operating Officer Sol Kumin said in a response sent through a spokesman, when asked about the Hong Kong departures.

There is more capital in Asia now than ever before, the spokesman cited Kumin as saying.

SAC has added three people to its team in Hong Kong this year and is setting up an office in Japan, said a person familiar with the matter.

The hedge fund expects to hire more in both locations this year, the person said.


An exterior view of the headquarters of SAC Capital Advisors, L.P. in Stamford, Connecticut, in this picture taken December 13, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar