It was expected today and now here it is — hedge fund SAC Capital has plead guilty to insider trading charges. The firm will pay $1.8 billion in fines ($1.2 billion was expected) and close its doors to outside investors.
Here's U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara's office in the Southern District of New York tweeted about it this morning:
SAC mgmt companies agree to plead guilty to all counts in crim indict, pay $1.8 billion, & terminate SAC Capital’s investment advisory bus
— SDNYnews (@SDNYnews) November 4, 2013
The government indicted the fund back in July, saying the firm's "relentless pursuit of an information 'edge' fostered a business culture within SAC in which there was no meaningful commitment to ensure that such 'edge' came from legitimate research and not inside information."
That essentially means that CEO Steve Cohen's incredible run as one of Wall Street's most sought after money managers is finished. By the end of the year, $6 billion will be returned to outside investors — pension funds, high net worth individuals etc. — and SAC will be a family office with $8 billion AUM.
The FBI, the Justice Department and the SEC have all been involved in investigating SAC in their own ways, and this admission of guilt doesn't end those investigations. The FBI is still going through Cohen's trades, and the SEC is still investigating him as an individual as well. The regulator seeks to ban him from the securities industry entirely.
Until then, as Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle pointed out, the immediate, painful change at SAC stemming from these legal issues will be the end of its ability to recruit and keep the best and brightest on Wall Street — Cohen's "power posse."
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