Steve A. Cohen is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Point72, a 1,250+ person registered investment advisor. He talks with Glenn Fuhrman, the co-managing partner of MSD Capital and the founder of The FLAG Art Foundation. They have a fascinating conversation that includes everything from Steve’s incredibly successful career as an investor to his philanthropic efforts on behalf of our nation’s veterans and his well-known passion for modern and contemporary art.
Mr. Cohen founded SAC Capital in 1992 and converted his investment operations to the Point72 Asset Management family office in 2014. An avid philanthropist and entrepreneur, Mr. Cohen has founded and holds active leadership roles in a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Cohen Veterans Network and Cohen Veterans Bioscience. He serves on the boards of MOCA in Los Angeles, the Robin Hood Foundation and MoMA.
Legendary Investor Steve A. Cohen With Glenn Fuhrman: On Investing, Philanthropy And Art
You're right it's a lot of kids and it was it was a small house. It was a little crazy. You know it was typical suburban family lots of sports. My mom was a piano teacher. My dad was a dress manufacturer and you know this was a nice place to live. It was great.
Now I would have thought that you were kind of a math guy. But everybody says you were actually a really good basketball player was that your first passion.
Well I mean yeah I like sports so I played soccer you know I played basketball at a high school team. And and you know just like golf and that's what you did you know basically and he always says I really didn't play baseball.
Were you also a very good student from the beginning. I was.
I think it was better when I was younger than as I got older into high school then maybe I didn't study hard and we were playing a lot of poker and it was a little basic play poker almost every night which doesn't lend itself to studying.
So now were you like cleaning out your friends. Was it like a balance. There was actually some give and take there are a couple of good players.
You always need new money at the card too right. So we clean out people then you have to find new people. And actually I mean nice live and doing it.
So were you playing like kids games like follow the Queen or are you playing real poker like five card stud.
We play everything. You know I figured I'd started out serious and by the end of the night it turned into a stupid game. Right.
But did they play hold them back that you didn't really play Holdem. You know it's actually funny. I don't know how to play all of them. We actually had a poker night at my house for the firm.
A couple of weeks ago and must've been like 50 people. And so they kind of teach me the rules a hold them and I came in second so I wasn't bad.
Now you know you say you weren't as good a student but you must have been a pretty good student if you wanted to go to Wharton and got into Wharton as an undergrad so you were obviously doing well enough to kind of have a you know way it was different than that.
Yeah that's the school I wanted to go to because I was interested in business and if I got in I was going to give you a sense of how serious we were. We were playing poker to five thirty at night. The night before my S.A.T. OK.
So you know and because I come from family aid if your parents were alive it was all right. So now were you were you very close to your to your parents or not so much. I would say OK you know like you when you have you don't get a lot of time with your parents when you have eight kids.
My mom was a piano teacher she so she taught regularly.
Did you pick up music at all. No.
Well the funny part is I wanted to play the guitar and she talked me into the accordion.
And so I'm lugging that is a mental image I can yeah I thought it meant cool instead I up like lugging this thing around for a couple of years you know.
And you ended up now you have seven children. So did you kind of say you were going to have a lot of kids.
I mean was that somehow two wives so you know that's that lends itself to more kids and. Yes so I was laughing at my dad when he it you know I used to say when are we thinking. And then he started laughing at me later.
You mentioned you mentioned two wives and him. It is it is a beautiful thing that among the many things that you are known for. You are known for having a bit of a fairytale marriage to Alex. Tell us a little bit about how you met how you fell in love and whether or maybe maybe that maybe it's not accurate but I just love your great girl.
You know we've been married 26 years. Never an argument never crossed were a total blessing.
And she's great. And I met her at a dating service. I mean I'll tell you a funny story. Like I just gotten out of my marriage to my first wife. And so I'm just getting back in the game and so you go to this place and you send the invitations.