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Cohen’s Point72 Bans Instant Messaging for Some Managers

Point72 Founder Steven A. Cohen
Steven A.DM Cohen, founder of Point72 Asset Management LP. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Point72 Asset Management LP, Steven A. Cohen’s family office and successor to his hedge-fund firm SAC Capital Advisors LP, is banning some of its employees from using instant messaging for external communication after last year agreeing to settle insider trading allegations.

“This prohibition of IMs will reduce the highly informal communications inherent with instant messaging that can lead to confusion and inaccuracy, reflecting our continuing commitment to pursue all reasonable steps to prevent inappropriate information from entering the firm,” Chief Surveillance Officer Vincent Tortorella wrote in a memo sent today to the firm’s employees.

The policy, effective June 16, applies to money managers, analysts and management in long-short and quantitative strategies and blocks the use of instant messages, or IMs, including Bloomberg messaging, for outside communication, according to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, operates Instant Bloomberg and competes with Thomson Reuters Corp. and other firms in providing messaging services. Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Point72 at Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment on the memo. Ty Trippet, a Bloomberg spokesman, declined to comment.

Hiring Palantir

SAC agreed in November to pay a record $1.8 billion and plead guilty to securities fraud to settle allegations of insider trading. As part of the settlement, Cohen, 57, agreed to close SAC and return client money. Point72, which oversees about $10 billion, hired Tortorella in April to strengthen its compliance procedures. Cohen’s family office also hired Palantir Technologies Inc., a Central Intelligence Agency-backed software maker, to boost surveillance.

Tortorella was most recently the general counsel and head of proprietary research at Coatue Management LLC, a New York-based hedge fund. Before that, he was a former assistant U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York and the Department of Justice’s criminal division in Washington.

Other employees, including execution traders in long-short and quantitative strategies, are allowed to continue their use of IMs for external communication and staff may still use them internally, according to the memo.

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