Steven A. Cohen
|Steven A. Cohen|
June 11, 1956 |
Great Neck, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (B.S.)|
|Occupation||Founder, SAC Capital Advisors
Hedge fund manager
|Salary||$600 million (2011)|
|Net worth||$11.1 billion (May 2014)|
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Finke (m. 1979; div. 1990)
Alexandra Garcia (m. 1992)
Steven A. Cohen (born June 11, 1956) is an American hedge fund manager. He is the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, a Stamford, Connecticut-based hedge fund focusing primarily on equity market strategies.
He has an estimated net worth of $11.1 billion as of May 2014, ranked by Forbes as the 106th richest man in the world. Cohen is 35th overall in the U.S. In November 2012, he began to be implicated in a large criminal insider trading scandal. In July 2013, SAC was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with failing to prevent insider trading. In November 2013, SAC Capital agreed to plead guilty, stop managing funds for outsiders, and pay a $1.2 billion fine.
Cohen grew up in a Jewish family in Great Neck, New York, where his father was a dress manufacturer in Manhattan's garment district, and his mother was a part-time piano teacher. He has 7 other brothers and sisters, in which he is the 3rd oldest. From oldest to youngest: Marty Cohen, Gary Cohen, Steven Cohen, Cindy Cohen, Donald Cohen, Stacey Cohen, Wendy Cohen, and Russell Cohen. He took a liking to poker as a high school student, often betting his own money in tournaments. Cohen credits the game with teaching him "how to take risks." Cohen received an economics degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. He was a brother of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Theta Chapter. While in school, a friend helped him open a brokerage account with $1,000 of his tuition money.
His first day on the job at Gruntal & Co., he made an $8,000 profit. He would eventually go on to make the company around $100,000 a day. Cohen was running his own trading group at Gruntal by 1984, and continued running it until he started his own company, SAC.
In 1992, Cohen started SAC Capital Partners with $20 million of his own money; today the firm manages $14 billion in equity. Originally known as a rapid-fire trader who never held trading positions for extended periods of time, Cohen now holds an increasing number of equities for longer periods of time.
Cohen was quoted as saying "I always tell my traders that they would've loved the 1990s because it was a fairly easy time to make money." 
In February 2013 Forbes listed Cohen as one of the 40 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers. In December 2013, Cohen's New York penthouse in the highly coveted Bloomberg Tower was listed for sale for 98 million dollars.
On November 20, 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal, Cohen was implicated in an alleged insider trading scandal involving an ex-SAC manager, Mathew Martoma. Cohen was not directly named in an indictment released in New York, but was referred to as "Portfolio Manager A" "according to people familiar with the matter." Reuters reported that Cohen "personally signed off on" the trades that are being investigated, but that "experts said prosecutors lack proof that Cohen knew the trades ... were based on inside information". A SAC spokesman later stated that “Mr. Cohen and SAC are confident that they have acted appropriately and will continue to cooperate with the government’s inquiry,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Five former SAC employees have been implicated in insider trading deals by prosecutors and three have confessed. Another three former SAC traders have been charged with illegal trading after they left SAC and two have pleaded guilty. SAC’s culture has been described as "high-stress, pressure-packed... (and) ruthless". The firm relentlessly digs "for information about publicly traded companies to form a 'mosaic,' building a complete picture of the company’s prospects that gives the firm an edge over other investors."
- In 1979, he married Patricia Finke, a New York native from a working-class background who grew up in the Washington Heights, Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. They had two children together. They divorced in 1990.
- In 1992, he married Alexandra Garcia, a working single mom of Puerto Rican Catholic descent who also grew up in Washington Heights. They have four children together. They live in Greenwich, Connecticut with their seven children (their four children along with Alexandra's prior child and his two children with his first wife, Patricia).
In December 2009, Steven A. Cohen and his brother Donald T. Cohen were sued by Steven's ex-wife Patricia Cohen for racketeering and insider trading charges. On March 30, 2011, the United States District Court in Lower Manhattan dismissed the case, saying Ms. Cohen’s claims amounted to little more than speculation and rumor.
On April 3, 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said a lower court had erred in dismissing fraud-based claims by his former spouse and revived the lawsuit. It also revived claims of racketeering and breach of fiduciary duty, while upholding the dismissal of an unjust enrichment claim.
On February 6, 2014, former SAC Capital portfolio manager Mathew Martoma was found guilty in what federal prosecutors billed as the most profitable insider-trading conspiracy in history. He becomes the eighth present or former SAC Capital employee found guilty on insider-trading charges. The hedge fund itself pleaded guilty to similar criminal charges in a $1.8 billion November settlement that requires it to stop handling investments for outsiders. Cohen hasn't been charged. But Dr. Sidney Gilman, the star prosecution witness against Martoma, testified that FBI agents told him Cohen was the investigation's ultimate target.
Cohen began collecting art in 2000, and has since become a prominent collector, appearing on Art News magazine's "Top 10" list of biggest-spending art collectors around the world each year since 2002, and Forbes magazine's "Top Billionaire Art Collectors" list in 2005. To date, Cohen has bought around $700 million worth of artwork; in 2003, the New York Times reported that in a five-year period, Cohen spent 20% of his income at art auctions.
Cohen owns between 4.7% and 5.9% of the stock of Sotheby's auction house, which has been described as a "significant stake."
He is reportedly building a private museum for some of his artwork on his Greenwich property. In the winter of 2005, it became known that in 1999 Cohen had bought Edvard Munch's Madonna. Reportedly, this was for $11.5 million.
His tastes in collecting changed quickly from Impressionist painters to contemporary art. He also collects 'trophy' art—signature works by famous artists—including a Pollock drip painting from David Geffen for $52 million and Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a piece that the artist had bought back from Charles Saatchi for $8 million. In the last two years, he reportedly paid $25 million each for a Warhol and a Picasso. He is a major patron of the Marianne Boesky art gallery.
He has purchased some unusual art works. In 2006, Cohen remarked that repairing his suspended shark artwork, a cost estimated to be a minimum of $100,000, was an "inconsequential" expense. Since the shark itself is over 10 years old, it has begun to rot and requires replacement. The replacement shark has already been caught; once the exhibit is fixed, Cohen will have it moved into his SAC office. Cohen has also placed Marc Quinn's Self, a head sculpture made of frozen blood, in the SAC lobby.
In addition, in 2006 Cohen bought a landscape entitled "Police Gazette” by artist Willem de Kooning for $63.5 million from David Geffen. Also in 2006, Cohen attempted to make the most expensive art purchase in history when he offered to purchase Picasso's Le Reve from casino mogul Steve Wynn for $139 million. Just days before the painting was to be transported to Cohen, Wynn, who suffers from poor vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, accidentally thrust his elbow through the painting while showing it to a group of acquaintances inside of his office at Wynn Las Vegas. The purchase was canceled, and Wynn still held the painting until early November, 2012, when Cohen finally acquired the painting for $150 million. In November 2006, Cohen purchased another Willem de Kooning painting, Woman III, from David Geffen for $137.5 million.
Dubbed "the hedge fund king" in a 2006 Wall Street Journal article, Time Magazine ranked him 94th in 2007 on its annual Time 100 list of most influential people. In 2011 he was included in the 50 Most Influential ranking of Bloomberg Markets Magazine.
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- American Law Daily: First Amended Complaint: PATRICIA COHEN, Plaintiff, STEVEN COHEN, DONALD COHEN, BRETT LURIE, EDWARD BAO, SAC CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, INC., DONALD T. COHEN C.P.A., P.A., and GRUNTAL & CO. L.L.C., Defendants filed April 5, 2010
- New York Magazine: "Divorced, Never Separated" By Steve Fishman March 28, 2010
- American Law Daily: "In Amended Complaint, Ex-Wife of SAC Capital's Cohen Targets New Defendants" by Brian Baxter "Patricia Cohen (née Finke) first sued her former husband..." April 6, 2010
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- Ex-Wife’s Suit Against Steven Cohen Is Dismissed March 30, 2011
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- Nora Ephron: My Weekend in Vegas - Politics on The Huffington Post
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- Wall Street Journal's 2006 "The Hedge-Fund King Is Getting Nervous" article
- Vanity Fair's Interview with Steven Cohen
- An art shark on the trading floor
- Steven Cohen Latest Portfolio
- Steven Cohen Accused of Failing to Prevent Insider Trading
- A New Prince of Wall Street Buys Up Art - New York Times article profiling Cohen's art collection
- The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation