BlueCrest Wins Dismissal of Money Manager’s Employment Suit

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A former BlueCrest Capital Management LLP can’t sue over his firing after he allegedly asked Steven A. Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management LP to front-run on a trade, a judge said.

Nicholas O’Grady claimed he was owed more than $1.3 million in salary, severance and bonus after the firm fired him without cause. U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan disagreed, saying in a ruling Monday that O’Grady’s bonus was at the firm’s “absolute discretion” and that the money manager didn’t sign the legal release that entitled him to severance.

“We plan to appeal,” O’Grady’s lawyer, Jonathan S. Sack, of the firm Sack & Sack, said in a phone interview. Ed Orlebar, a BlueCrest spokesman, declined to comment.

O’Grady, hired in December 2013 and fired in June 2014, sued in February, saying he was terminated despite “stellar and consistent performance.” BlueCrest alleged in an April court filing that O’Grady “appeared to invite” a money manager at Point72 to front run, or place a trade ahead of him. O’Grady denies wrongdoing, his lawyer said.

Front running is when a trader seeks to profit by buying a security based on advance knowledge of a pending order of that security.

“We dispute the facts asserted by BlueCrest,” Sack said in an e-mail. “The case was dismissed by Judge Stein at this preliminary phase on a technical basis.”

O’Grady previously worked at SAC Capital Advisors, the predecessor to Point72, which pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and stopped managing money for clients as part of a $1.8 billion insider-trading settlement with the U.S.

The case is O’Grady v. BlueCrest, 15-cv-01108, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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