SAC Capital Posts 4% Gain Despite Ongoing Federal Investigation

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SAC Capital Advisors, the hedge fund managed by billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen, posted a 4 percent gain this year despite the ongoing insider trading investigation against it by federal authorities.

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According to a report by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Katya Wachtel of Reuters, the flagship portfolio of SAC Capital Advisors increased by approximately 4 percent through the early part of March based on the information obtained from an investor in the firm.

Another unnamed source with knowledge about the performance of the hedge fund confirmed SAC Capital’s 4 percent gain.

SAC Capital Advisors does not release its performance figures, but the source said Cohen’s hedge fund rose by 3.4 percent this year after deducting fees. SAC Capital Advisors is among the firms that charges some of the highest fees in the hedge fund industry.

Cohen’s firm outperformed the 3.22 percent average returns of hedge funds, but its performance is lower than the 9.11 percent return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Since its establishment, SAC Capital Advisors annual average return is 25 percent, particularly when the markets are on a decline.

Last week, CR Intrinsic Investors, a unit of SAC Capital Advisors agreed to pay more than $600 million in penalties to settle the insider trading charges filed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) back in November. The lawsuit is related to the alleged arranged trades of its former portfolio manager Mathew Martoma for certain hedge funds for its shares of Wyeth Limited (NSE:WYETH) (BOM:500095) and Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE:ELN).

In December last year, federal investigators started another probe against SAC Capital Advisors involving its trades in shares of Weight Watchers (WTW) and InterMune (ITMN) from 2010 to 2011.

SAC Capital Advisors is also waiting for the decision of prosecutors whether they would file criminal charges against Michael Steinberg, one of the longest-tenured portfolio managers of the hedge fund. Steinberg was suspended in October last year. He was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal litigation of two convicted hedge fund traders who were involved in trading the shared of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL). According to Barry Berke, the attorney representing Steinberg, his client “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

The hedge fund’s nine former employees were implicated or charged with wrongful trading during their tenure at the hedge fund.

Last month, the investors of SAC Capital Advisors redeemed $1.68 billion from the hedge fund due to the ongoing insider trading investigation. Some of the investors that decide to withdraw their investments from the hedge fund were Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) and Societe Generale SA (PINK:SCGLY) (EPA:GLE).

SAC Capital Advisors has $15 billion assets under management at the beginning of 2013.

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