Cohen's Fund Returned a Measly 1% Last Year

  • Englander’s Millennium gained 3.3% last year, people said
  • Folger Hill loses 17%, Blackstone’s Senfina shuts down

Steven Cohen

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management returned about 1 percent in 2016, the second-worst annual performance ever for the billionaire investor, according to people familiar with the returns.

The family office, which runs Cohen’s personal fortune and invests across equity teams, suffered along with other multi-manager firms, which struggled to make money in stocks. The high correlation among equities for most of last year, caused in part by the billions of dollars that flowed into index and exchange-traded funds, hurt managers making significant wagers on falling shares.

Last year was a comedown for Cohen, who is used to his managers making money no matter the market environment. When he was running his predecessor firm, SAC Capital Advisors, it averaged returns of about 30 percent annually, and posted only one losing year, in 2008, when it dropped almost 28 percent.

After SAC pleaded guilty in 2013 to securities fraud and agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion fine and convert to a family office, the firm lost many of its seasoned traders. It sought out younger managers, even starting a training program for recent college grads called Point72 Academy.

Cohen told the New York Times in October that he’s leaning toward raising money from outside clients in 2018, when the Securities and Exchange Commission lifts its ban preventing him from managing external capital. Cohen’s fortune is estimated at $12 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Among other multi-managers, Blackstone Group LP’s fund was the biggest casualty. The firm closed its two-year-old Senfina Advisors after it lost 24 percent in 2016. Folger Hill Asset Management, started in 2015 by Cohen’s former lieutenant Sol Kumin, slumped 17 percent, following a 3 percent loss in 2015, according to people familiar with the firm.

Izzy Englander’s Millennium Management climbed 3.3 percent, its second-worst year. Citadel’s multi-strategy fund gained 5 percent, its third-worst year, according to people familiar with the firms.

The returns from hedge funds, unlike Cohen’s family office, are after deducting client fees. Spokesmen for the firms declined to comment on performance.

In Europe, Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management, which also doesn’t manage money for outside investors, posted a 50 percent gain last year. After middling returns and client withdrawals, BlueCrest said in December 2015 it would return money to investors.

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