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Moore Capital set to hire SAC traders

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 | 8:00 AM ET
Steven A. Cohen
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Steven A. Cohen

Traders from Steven A. Cohen's beleaguered SAC Capital Advisors continue to leave for rival shops.

Moore Capital Management, Louis Bacon's $12.1 billion hedge fund firm with offices in London and New York, expects to hire several London-based SAC employees early next year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Moore met with members of SAC's investment management teams in London over recent weeks and extended offers, the person said. The names of the employees were not disclosed, but they are confirmed to be members of SAC's long/short equity and so-called macro units.

"Macro" is a term for investors who trade all types of securities based on broad political and economic trends globally. Macro is Moore's main strategy, while SAC is primarily known for stock trading based on analysis of companies and the market. The firm does run a dedicated macro strategy—the SAC Global Macro Fund—and has dedicated macro analysts and traders.

Matt Burns, a spokesman for Moore, and Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for SAC, declined to comment.

SAC's Steinberg to be sentenced April 25
SAC Capital's Michael Steinberg has been found guilty on conspiracy and four counts of securities fraud. He could face up to 85 years in prison. CNBC's Kate Kelly reports.

(Read more: Troubled hedge fund sitting on real estate gold)

SAC had about 950 employees as of Dec. 17, according to a recent regulatory filing. About 400 were professional investors. That number will fall by about 50, as SAC plans to close its London office at year-end as it transitions into a roughly $9 billion family office for Cohen.

Moore just spoke with SAC employees in London and only after the firm announced it was returning outside investor capital, according to the person.

SAC has been reeling from a string of insider trading convictions and settlements.

Most recently, portfolio manager Michael Steinberg was found guilty Dec. 18 for various violations. He faces time in prison. Another, Mathew Martoma, is awaiting trial on similar charges.

(Read more: SAC's Steinberg found guilty of insider trading)

In early November, SAC pleaded guilty to criminal insider trading charges and agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine. Cohen, who has not been personally charged with any crime, also agreed to stop managing outside capital. That was on top of a $616 million fine by the Securities and Exchange Commission for related charges.

The move from SAC to Moore doesn't surprise industry observers, regardless of the legal troubles.

"The overall culture at Moore is very similar—it isn't a surprise that SAC employees are interested. That move would make a lot of sense on both sides," said a recruiter who asked not to be named.

Michael Karp, a founding partner of recruiting firm Options Group, agreed. "Moore Capital has a very strong platform and SAC has a reputation for employing high quality talent," Karp said. "As SAC digests some of its challenges, it's not a surprise that some of its employees look elsewhere, like Moore."

(Read more: The next headache for SAC's Steinberg: Legal fees?)

Others have made similar jumps.

London-based hedge fund firm BlueCrest Capital Management recently hired SAC employees Nicholas O'Grady, Eugene Lipovetsky, Lia Forcina and Alidod Shirinbekov, according to The New York Times. And as CNBC.com has reported, three SAC traders went to rival multistrategy shop Millennium Partners earlier in 2013: Alexey Chentsov, Santiago Falconi and Andres Anker.

SAC moved earlier this year to retain investment staff by increasing base pay and adding an incentive bonus. But more defections are likely as hedge fund employees typically move shops in the new year after their annual bonuses have been paid.

—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne. Follow him on Twitter @ldelevingne.

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