Ex-Soros Manager Sues Firm For $20 Million

Jul 8 2014 | 7:27am ET

A SAC Capital Advisors veteran sued Soros Fund Management, alleging that the firm owes him $20 million after firing him just nine months into his career at the hedge fund.

Aaron Cowen alleges that the New York-based firm is withholding at least $19.5 million. Cowen, who served as chief investment officer at SAC, working directly with founder Steven Cohen, added that he was fired without cause, and that Soros refuses to provide his track record, harming his ability to launch his own hedge fund.

Cowen joined Soros in November 2010 after two years at SAC. But says he was abruptly terminated in July of the following year, in spite of his generating $34 million for the firm, managing a $500 million portfolio. At the time of his dismissal, Cowen was managing $800 million, and Soros said he wanted that increased to $1 billion.

His ouster surprised even firm founder George Soros, who Cowen said told him, “I don’t know why you were let go. You were doing very well.” The comment came at a meeting at Soros’ Southampton, N.Y., home days after his firing.

“Shocking, Cowen’s employment was terminated despite his positive returns, when other Soros portfolio managers were failing,” the lawsuit alleges.

According to Cowen, Soros owes him $11 million in pipeline performance fees, $8.4 million in performance fees and $2 million in management fees. He also wants at least $3 million in compensatory damages for the liquidation of his portfolio, during which Soros allegedly moved his profitable positions into other funds at the firm and sold off the remaining investments to Cowen’s detriment.

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