February 2, 2015 / 10:19 PM / 4 years ago

Billionaire Steve Cohen eyes college graduates for his firm

Steven A. Cohen responds to a question during a one-on-one interview session at the SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire Steven A. Cohen, who oversees only his personal fortune after decades of running one of the world’s biggest hedge funds, wants to recruit newly minted college graduates into his army of hundreds of investment professionals.

Less than 16 months after Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, the successor firm, Point72 Asset Management, is shifting its focus from hiring seasoned investors to bringing in talent that it can shape in-house, a spokesman for the firm said.

The $10 billion firm, which employs 850 people, including 350 investment professionals, expects a new website, Point72.com to help recruiting.

At the same time, Cohen, 58, is not looking for outside clients, his spokesman Mark Herr said in an e-mail, noting that the website makes clear on every page that the firm is a family office. SAC was prohibited from managing outside capital and invests only Cohen’s personal fortune.

Cohen’s style of stock picking has always been labor intensive and the firm has long had been among the industry’s largest, with staffing near current levels. But as employees leave, some to start their own hedge funds, Cohen is looking to replace them with industry newcomers.

“We’ve launched a campus recruiting program for undergraduates unique among hedge funds,” Herr wrote.

Cohen traditionally hired analysts and portfolio managers with long resumes who had often worked at other hedge funds to deliver the 25 percent average annual return that attracted scores of big-name investors to SAC.

At Point72, Herr said, three-quarters of the firm’s portfolio managers are now “homegrown” compared with seven years ago, when 80 percent joined from elsewhere. Last year Point72 hired 78 analysts.

Many of Cohen’s long-time employees, including Sol Kumin and Gabe Plotkin, have left and are launching their own hedge funds, where they can collect management and incentive fees.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Dan Grebler

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