LONDON (Reuters) - Hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen is returning to London three years after his old firm, SAC Capital, shut up shop and ditched its European base following an insider trading scandal.
His $11 billion family office, Point72 Asset Management, is opening a new branch less than two weeks after Cohen struck a deal with U.S. regulators that could once again see him take in outside capital.
Point72 President Douglas Haynes told journalists that the firm was back in hiring mode.
“We are reopening the office, we are gaining more exposure and, given that what we’re good at is individual stocks, we’re voting with our feet that that will pay off,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the LSE SU Alternative Investments Conference.
The firm’s UK office was launching with seven analysts and portfolio managers, Haynes told journalists, but could end up hosting 70-80 people, 80 percent of whom would likely be investment staff.
As a sign of his intent, Haynes told Reuters he was interviewing three potential hires later on Tuesday. The team, based in Point72’s office in the affluent Mayfair district, would likely be 15 strong by the end of the year.
Underpinning the firm’s decision to move back into Europe is a belief that investment returns would improve and benefit the equity-focused firm’s 12 global equities trading books, each of which may decide to relocate some headcount to London.
Globally, the firm has about 100 trading teams across a number of equity and global macro strategies. The firm as a whole returned 15.5 percent in 2015, Haynes said.
“Our belief, going forward, is that macro factors [in Europe] will settle down and the market will be more driven by individual equities, individual stock fundamentals.”
While Europe looked increasing attractive, the Stamford, Connecticut-headquartered firm had temporarily scaled back its investment in mainland China from a high of around $500 million 9-12 months ago to around $100 million currently, Haynes said, although this would likely bounce back at some point.
“We do want to continue to get more exposure to both the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges but we don’t want to go rushing in because we think the markets are still young,” said Haynes.
Point72 currently has 15-20 investment professionals in Hong Kong, and this month hired Marc Desmidt from BlackRock as its Asia-Pacific chief executive.
Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Keith Weir