SAC Indictment Leaves Employees On Uncertain Ground

Jul 26 2013 | 11:25am ET

Yesterday's criminal indictment of SAC Capital Advisors has the hedge fund struggling to survive. And among the many potential impacts of the allegations are that SAC's roughly 1,000 employees will seek to head for the doors.

While one headhunter told Reuters that she'd received more résumés from SAC than usual, but "not a flood," SAC's staffers are dealing with an extremely uncertain environment. Although the firm won't be losing many more assets—most outside investors have already filed redemptions to pull almost all of their money—no major financial firm has ever survived a criminal indictment. And the government's plan to seize almost all of SAC's assets in the event of a conviction, imperiling firm founder Steven Cohen's own fortune, could preclude SAC's becoming a family office.

SAC employees have reached out to a variety of other hedge funds, The Wall Street Journal reports, including Millennium Management and Guggenheim Partners. Some others have spent the last few months gauging interest in new hedge funds they'd launch, while others, including longtime marketer Chris Rae, have already left the firm.

And despite SAC's reputation as one of the most successful—and, for employees, rigorous—hedge funds in the world, what have formerly been a major accolade on a résumé may now be a stain.

"Hiring from SAC these days is increasingly seen as complicated," recruiter Ilana Weinstein told the Journal. "Even if a person isn't guilty of anything, the worry would be that they are distracted by the legal proceedings, best-case scenario."

One would-be employer said in particular he'd shy away from SAC employees who worked in healthcare and technology, two areas in which prosecutors say the firm relied on confidential corporate information.

And it isn't only perceived difficulty in finding a new job: Many employees have stayed during the last several months due to deferred compensation plans. Those payouts are due to come in November.


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