SAC Seeks Two-Year Contracts, Threatens Litigation To Hold On To Traders

Apr 2 2014 | 1:37pm ET

SAC Capital Advisors is pursuing a carrot-and-stick approach to holding on to investment talent.

The hedge fund, which will become a family office called Point72 Asset Management on Monday under the terms of an insider-trading settlement, has not seen a mass exodus of traders. But there has been a steady erosion of its staff, which once numbered more than 1,000 and now stands at about 850.

To combat that, SAC is taking two approaches: It is asking top portfolio managers to sign two-year contracts that would keep them at the firm until the end of 2016. And it is threatening those who join other firms before their contracts expire with lawsuits, The New York Times reports.

The push for two-year contracts is not sitting well with some at the firm, who tell the Times that they feel they are being punished for loyally sticking by SAC founder Steven Cohen through years of insider-trading investigations, culminating in last year’s guilty plea and an agreement to cease managing outside capital.

As for those roughly dozen traders who left before the end of their contracts, litigation was avoided through agreements to forfeit deferred compensation. Those former employees will also not be permitted to start their new jobs until their contracts expire.

Similar deals could be struck with others planning to leave the firm. Among that group, top traders David Fiszel and David Rosen are said to be exploring an exit.

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