The guy who is killing it at SAC Capital

December 23, 2011

By Matthew Goldstein

Move over Steve Cohen. The trader who is killing it at Cohen’s $14 billion SAC Capital Advisors this year is Gabriel Plotkin.

The portfolio manager, who specializes in consumer products and the gaming and lodging industry, is one of the top producers this year at Cohen’s hedge fund, say several people familiar with the Stamford, Conn. hedge fund. Plotkin, who joined SAC Capital in late 2006 from North Sound Capital, is emerging as on Cohen’s most reliable money men.

At SAC Capital, where most portfolio managers run books that range from as little as $250 million to $500 million, Plotkin manages one of the largest. His team of half-dozen traders and analysts manages about $1.2 billion of the firm’s money, say sources.

And this year, Plotkin has delivered, producing a return of about $150 million from his trades.

In October, Plotkin was a featured panelist at a Wharton Investment Management Conference along with Adam Cohen of Caspian Capital, BlackRock’s Rick Rieder and Michael Karsch of Karsch Capital. Plotkin works with SAC Capital’s Sigma Capital division.

Overall, it’s been a generally strong year for SAC Capital. As of the end of November, the firm is telling investors its flagship fund is up about 8 percent after fees. By comparison, the average hedge fund is down 4 percent for the year.

The reported 8 percent gain is impressive when you consider that Cohen still manages to charge some of the highest fees in the industry–charging a 3 percent asset management fee and then collecting 50 percent of the firm’s profits.

Industry analysts and people who know SAC Capital well say using a back-of-the envelope calculation, SAC Capital is looking at taking in about $1.4 billion from fees alone. Then again, with some 900 employees,  Cohen “has a lot of mouths to feed,” as one industry observer put it.

But still there’s been some misses at Cohen’s empire this year. Most notably, the firm is said to have absorbed some significant losses on Dendreon and Green Mountain Coffee Roaster, sources say.

Green Mountain is a favorite short of hedgie David Einhorn, who recently talked about his “big short” with Reuters editor and UF co-founder Jenn Ablan. Einhorn’s short bet on Green Mountain saved the Greenlight Capital manager’s year.

Then again, Greenlight Capital is up about 5 percent on the year. By that measure Cohen is still out front.

 

2 comments

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wow. he scored an 8% return. and he’s the top of the heap at SAC? Seriously? After fees that’s 2.5%? Two-point-five percent?

Posted by ads02 | Report as abusive

no. 8% is for the firm, say sources. plotkin’s profit was somewhere between $150 million and $200 million depending on whom you talk to. he manages about $1.2 billion–not sure if that sum is inclusive of his trading profits