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Point 72 is hiring up to 70 people for its new London office, and taking on people it fired

Point72, the $11bn family office that was formerly Steve Cohen’s hedge fund SAC Capital, is back in London and it’s hiring. It plans to add at least 15 people over the course of 2016, but it will eventually be bringing in up to 70 people as it builds the office in St James Square.

What does it take to be considered for this relaunch? Well, it helps to have worked there before. “We closed the London office for external reasons and had to let go of people because of that. For some, we’ve opened the door for them to come back,” said Doug Haynes, president of Point 72 during a briefing today.

This is a significant move. Not only have many of the 50 people who left SAC in London after its 2013 closure gone on to work for other organisations, but Point 72 doesn’t usually hire people back once they’ve left. Haynes said that it doesn’t want to incentivise people to leave to start their own firm and create a “revolving door”, so once people depart, it’s usually a one-way journey.

Already, Point 72 has “six or seven” investment professionals working for the UK – predominantly researchers and analysts, rather than portfolio managers, according to Haynes. By the end of this year, it’ll be closer to 15 people, he says, but 30-40 people working in a satellite office is a “good number” and the intention is to bring in up to 70 people in London.

Working for SAC Capital under the relative eccentricities of Steve Cohen was a strange experience for some. For a start he has his “Steve-cam”, which broadcasts his movements across the office. These are only now present on a “few desks” insists Haynes. Cohen also insisted on a regular Sunday meeting where his portfolio managers would pitch their best ideas.

These days, Cohen takes more of the role of “head coach”, according to Haynes, mentoring and sitting down with analysts and portfolio managers three or four days a week to discuss ideas - even when markets are open. Cohen will offer his point of view, but Haynes insists that this is more of an open discussion than instruction.

Having said that, the average age of analysts at Point 72 is just 26, and many have yet to witness a downturn, said Haynes. “Steve Cohen has seen a lot of bear markets,” he says.

Haynes also said that even since the insider trading charges brought against the firm in 2010, which eventually led to it reinventing itself as a family office closed to external capital, just 5-7% of its staff have left – voluntarily, at least. It previously had 850 people, but headcount stands at 959 right now.

Point 72 has around 100 investment teams, each led by a portfolio manager supported by a team of analysts and researchers. Portfolio managers have been with the firm for an average of seven years, while 60% of its analysts have been employed for an average of three years and 20% for five years.

Haynes insists that being a family office allows Point 72 to take a more long-term outlook and therefore it’s not likely to take a hire-and-fire approach depending on performance or asset flows.

“This stability means we take a long view and invest in developing careers without being thrown about by tides,” he says.

Photo: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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