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Is SAC Capital poised for an (eventual) comeback?

This past holiday season brought with it a gift to many who likely don’t deserve it. In December, an appeals court threw out two insider trading convictions and, in doing so, may have re-written what constitutes the nature of the crime from a legal perspective.

Since then, more appeals have been sought and on at least one occasion a defendant saw charges against him dropped, something that rarely if ever happened following the crackdown on insider trading in 2009. The man’s lawyer directly credited the appeals court ruling after the charges were dismissed.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity, Steven A. Cohen, the SEC’s most wanted man for over a decade, is considering leaping into action. Cohen was forced to shut down SAC Capital Advisors last year after settling civil insider trading charges, with an agreement that the firm would never again be able to manage outside money. SAC became a family office, only managing Cohen and his employees’ money, and was renamed Point72 Asset Management. Soon afterwards, a host of once-loyal staffers jumped off the boat and joined rival firms.

But, with the December ruling rocking New York prosecutors, Cohen is sensing leverage. He’s reportedly planning to push the SEC to agree to a three-year ban, which, if retroactively dated, would act as more like a two-year ban.

No one knows if this will go anywhere, and Point72 has denied having any internal discussions about the matter, but people close to the firm told Bloomberg that they are confident the company will, at some point, manage outside capital once again.

If that does indeed happen, will portfolio managers, traders and analysts be willing to return or drop off an application? The answer for most is likely yes. Despite all the commotion, Point72 Asset Management crushed 2014, raking in billions without the help of client funds. They’ve done away with many instruments that regulators thought encouraged insider trading, and seriously, at this point no one at the firm would be dumb enough to do anything sketchy (right?).

If, in a few years, Point72 reverts back to a hedge fund, they’ll have openings and plenty of people interested in applying.

CLSA’s Hiring Plans For the U.S. (eFinancialCareers)

The brokerage firm plans to increase headcount between 5% and 10% in the U.S. in 2015. They’re looking to add headcount in sales, trading and research.

How Close Were You To Passing the CFA? (eFinancialCareers)

Yesterday was CFA results day. Around 44% of you passed, which is actually a good number considering last year’s results. For the other 56%, here are the reasons you probably failed.

DB Growing Healthcare M&A Team (Institutional Investor)

Deutsche Bank has grown its healthcare investment banking team from 35 to 50 over the last year under its new head, former Goldman exec Jason Haas.

From Russia With Love (Bloomberg)

Three Russian spies who pretended to be bankers have been arrested on espionage charges after they were allegedly caught trying to garner information on the New York Stock Exchange and U.S. economic sanctions on Russia. Sadly, being a spy isn’t all its cracked up to be. One openly complained about his life not being at all like James Bond.

Data Security, Or Go Away Big Brother? (NY Times)

Finra has proposed a new rule with a mediocre acronym, CARDS, or the Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System, that would require brokers to file monthly reports detailing all the moves made on their clients’ behalf. The idea is to stop abusive practices that only make the brokers money. Not surprisingly, brokerage firms are pushing back, saying the filings would create data security problems.

Open Range (Financial News)

The Australian financial services market has been lousy, resulting in many firms completely pulling out of the area. Sensing an opportunity, investment bank Houlihan Lokey is moving in. The firm just opened an office in Sydney and is hiring.

Monster Year Ahead For M&A (EY)

2014 was a big year for M&A bankers. 2015 will be even better, according to EY.

Buzz Around the Office

What’s In a Name (NY Post)

A French judge has told a couple that they cannot name their daughter Nutella, a moniker inspired by the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Some idiots named their child North West. At this point who cares?

Quote of the Day: “Their reaction is so over the top that the only thing I can see is that they just don’t want their regulator to be able to keep an eye on them.” – Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, on brokers pushing back on Finra’s latest plan

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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