Point72 Opens Blue Swell Asia Unit for Manager Seeking Autonomy

  • Oda has managed Japan-focused portfolio for firm for six years
  • Blue Swell is first such Point72 unit created in Asia

Billionaire Steven A. Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management has created a Japan-focused unit in Singapore to give its fund manager there greater autonomy, a first for the firm in Asia.

Blue Swell Asset Management, led by Tomofumi Oda, will bet on rising and falling Japanese stocks, according to an internal memo dated Sept. 5. Oda has managed a Japan-focused portfolio out of the firm’s Singapore office for six years, according to the memo, the contents of which were confirmed by Molly Binenfeld, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Point72.

Point72, which manages $11 billion, and its predecessor SAC Capital Advisors over the years have started similar divisions for some fund managers seeking more freedom, including the creation of a quantitative unit called Cubist Systematic Strategies.

“Operating more independently is a natural evolution and decision for some of our most gifted portfolio managers,” according to the memo. The creation of Blue Swell “is consistent with our commitment to expand our presence in Asia as well as our mission to provide our top talent with best career opportunities.”

Japan Losses

The move comes even as Japanese-focused funds have struggled this year, with money managers including Hong Kong-based Myriad Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment unit and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. shutting Japan-focused funds.

In local currency terms, Japan’s two benchmark stock indexes are among the 10 worst-performing primary stock gauges tracked by Bloomberg globally this year, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth measures falter.

Point72 was created after SAC pleaded guilty in 2013 to securities fraud, agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion fine, returned outside money and converted into a family office. Cohen struck a deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in January that would allow him to resume managing outside money as early as January 2018.

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