How much would it take for you to work at SAC Capital?

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Cohen

What would you do if you were working at a sinking ship that’s throwing money at you, trying to convince you to stay? Portfolio managers and analysts at SAC Capital are facing that very predicament.

CNBC’s Kate Kelly is reporting that SAC, facing civil and criminal insider trading charges that have robbed the firm of nearly all outside assets, is pulling out the stops to slow the talent drain that’s already well underway. On Wednesday, the firm reportedly announced a new retention program for PMs and analysts that includes, among other things, larger base salaries and more aggressive bonus programs. Long-short PMs can earn a 3% bonus in addition to their annual take of P&L, according to Kelly.

On the surface, leaving SAC seems like the prudent decision for employees. Assets are waning, rumors are mounting that the firm will become a family office – meaning it’ll manage only inside assets – and authorities have essentially declared war on the Connecticut firm. But the money being offered by SAC, a firm already renowned for paying its employees top dollar, will likely make some think twice. After all, taking a voluntary pay cut isn’t on the top of every trader’s to-do list, especially when you already need to overcome the SAC stain in interviews.

Traders likely have a good deal of time to make a decision. A civil case against SAC Capital seeking assets will be delayed until the completion of a parallel criminal insider trading case, which is likely to drag on for some time itself.

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