SAC Capital to Hold Staff Meeting, Discuss Travails
SAC Capital will gather members of its 1,000-person staff after the markets close Thursday for the second time in two weeks, says someone familiar with the matter, hoping to address lingering questions about a new insider-trading probe and its ramifications for SAC's founder, Steve Cohen.
Cohen, 56, was not singled out in a Securities and Exchange Commission warning last week that it may bring civil charges against the company that comprises his hedge funds, SAC Capital Advisors, says a person with knowledge of the matter.
The SEC warning, which is called a Wells notice, lets a potential defendant know that the SEC's staff plans to recommend litigation — but can also take months to play out. SAC disclosed that it had received the Wells notice in a call with investors on Wednesday, adds this person and others with knowledge of the call. (Read More: SAC May Face Civil Charges in Insider Trading Probe)
Still, concerns about Cohen's possible implication in the probe have risen in the past day, in the wake of a Bloomberg report suggesting that the SEC was considering filings fraud and other charges against Cohen and a Wall Street Journal report that the hedge-fund founder has spoken privately about retiring "for years." (Read More: Investor: I'm Pulling Out of SAC as Insider Probe Widens)
An SEC spokesman declined to comment on the possibility of charging Cohen individually. Government investigators have given no clear indication that they plan to do so, say people with knowledge of the communications between the SEC and SAC, but that could change as events unfold. (Read More: Former SAC Fund Manger Has Been Set at $5 Million)
Early Thursday, an SAC spokesman dismissed the notion of Cohen retiring as being "utterly false."
Yet two summers ago, Cohen told Vanity Fair in a rare interview that a combination of back pain and stress was forcing him to consider it.
"Within a year, if I don't want to trade anymore, I won't have to," Cohen told the magazine. "As the firm grows, it needs to change and evolve. I also need to do that…Seriously, I've got nothing left to prove."
—By CNBC's Kate Kelly; Follow her on Twitter @KateKellyCNBC