The inevitable has finally happened. SAC Capital on Monday agreed to a historic $1.8 billion settlement with regulators over criminal insider-trading charges. The fallout will be immense.
The headliner, other than the record fine, is the fact that SAC has agreed to shutter its investment advisory business. Following a timely unwinding of the hedge fund, SAC’s only course of action would be to transform itself into a family office, meaning it can only manage the money of founder Steven Cohen and other SAC employees. Expect the exodus on employees to continue, whether through layoffs or voluntary actions.
Another key detail that came out of the settlement is that the Justice Department has given exactly zero assurances that this is the end of the madness. No individual – including Cohen himself – has been given immunity from prosecution. The SEC’s civil case against Cohen will continue uninterrupted.
Then there is SAC’s relationship with banks and brokers, who make tens of millions of dollars with the trading machine that is SAC Capital. It was just two months ago when Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn called SAC “a great counterparty,” despite the insider trading charges. Will all of Wall Street continue trading with SAC after it becomes a family office?
As per usual, prosecutors are using the settlement as a warning to other firms that may foster an environment that encourages insider trading, even if upper management isn’t necessarily involved or even aware of the specific activity. "No institutions should rest easy in the belief that it is too big to jail," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara. Cohen shouldn’t either.
Career Advice from Goldman Sachs (eFinancialCareers)
Michael Desmarais, Goldman Sachs’ global head of talent acquisition, has responded to all your career-related inquiries, including how to get into the firm without direct applicable experience.
Shrinking Swiss Banks (Bloomberg)
Expect UBS and Credit Suisse to shrink their fixed-income, currencies and commodities activities if planned higher leverage ratios are imposed, according to J.P. Morgan analysts. Layoffs would surely ensue.
Safe Havens (eFinancialCareers)
Barclays, HSBC and RBS have all reported quarterly results in recent days. If you work for one of the British banks, hopefully you’re located in these units where cost-cutting is at a minimum.
BofA Added to IPO (WSJ)
Investment bankers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch earned a big victory this week by being added as a second underwriter to the upcoming Chrysler IPO. BofA joins J.P. Morgan.
Can’t Get it Right (Bloomberg)
Another day, another exchange malfunction. NYSE experienced two significant technical errors and had difficulty quoting shares early Monday morning, just three days before the high-anticipated Twitter initial public offering. Could another Facebook-like IPO debacle be around the corner?
Top Dog No More (Business Insider)
Pimco has lost its crown as the world’s largest mutual fund. Bill Gross’ hallmark fund has seen $37.5 billion in investor funds walk out the door since January due to the nightmarish fixed-income environment. Vanguard has taken Pimco’s place atop the mutual fund hierarchy.
Impressive Poach (NY Times)
Kewsong Lee, managing director at private equity firm Warburg Pincus, has been named the new deputy chief investment officer at rival Carlyle Group. Lee had worked for Warburg Pincus for two decades.
Buzz Around the Office
McNuggets of Wisdom (NY Post)
Feel like breaking some Olympic records? Order yourself a 10-piece. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt claims that he ingested 1,000 McDonald’s McNuggets during his 10-day stay in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.
List of the Day: Impressing Your Boss
If you want to make a good impression on day one, try doing this.
- Come in armed with one business-changing idea.
- Stay later than your colleagues.
- Ask lots of questions.
(Source: The Daily Muse)