Cohen’s New Firm Said to Meet With Investors Ahead of 2018by
Stamford Harbor engages marketing company run by SAC alumnus
Discussions are focusing on hypothetical terms for investment
Stamford Harbor Capital, the new firm started by Steven Cohen and led by a longtime deputy, is working with a third-party marketing company that’s meeting with potential clients to gauge interest in investment vehicles that could be started as soon as 2018.
Stamford Harbor has engaged a fundraising firm founded by Douglas Blagdon, who was global head of marketing and investor relations at Cohen’s former hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Blagdon, whose firm was hired earlier this year, has been meeting with investors to discuss the hypothetical terms they would seek for an allocation to Stamford Harbor, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private.
Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Stamford Harbor, declined to comment. Blagdon didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Speculation has long been rife that Cohen -- who in January struck a deal with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission that would allow him to return to managing outside money as early as January 2018 -- would seek to do just that once the time-out expires. The January agreement was seen as a victory for Cohen, whose former SAC Capital had pleaded guilty in 2013 to securities fraud and agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion fine in a separate settlement with federal authorities.
The billionaire wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing under the SAC settlement, but his hedge fund firm agreed at the time to return outside capital and convert into a family office. Gasthalter has previously said that no decision has been made on whether Stamford Harbor will seek or accept outside capital, even in 2018.
Even so, Stamford Harbor’s arrangement with Blagdon’s ShoreBridge Capital Partners is the clearest sign yet that this plan is moving forward. Formed earlier this year to run private funds that will initially invest in illiquid and nonpublic securities, Stamford Harbor employs top executives from Cohen’s family office, Point72 Asset Management. Perry Boyle, who led stock and macro investments at Point72, left in June to run Stamford Harbor, which is located across the street in Stamford, Connecticut.
The draw of investing in a new incarnation of SAC, which had average annual returns of between 25 and 30 percent over two decades, would likely attract clients if Cohen announces he’s taking capital, according to Julian Rundle, the chief investment officer of Dorset Management, a firm that creates customized portfolios of hedge funds for clients.
"People would invest, given how sub-par returns have been from equity long-short managers this year," Rundle said.
Though Cohen owns the entity, the firm said in a filing earlier this year that he won’t supervise its activities or employees, a distinction that allows it to raise outside money. News of the new firm’s existence raised the ire of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said the plan made a “mockery of the SEC’s core mission to protect investors.”
While a Stamford Harbor spokesman said in April that it “never intended” to seek external money before the terms of Cohen’s SEC settlement lapse on Jan. 1, 2018, the firm isn’t wasting the intervening year and a half.
In the meetings with would-be investors, ShoreBridge founder Blagdon has made it clear that he’s not currently pitching any specific vehicle and that Cohen isn’t involved in running Stamford Harbor, the person said. Blagdon has presented investors with a questionnaire about preferences for terms such as fees and lock-up periods.