Point72 Quant Consolidation Spurs Granade’s Departure

Steven Cohen is consolidating the systematic operations of his $19 billion hedge fund firm and one of its most prominent executives will exit after five years.

Cohen is moving his Fusion quantitative portfolio into Point72 Asset Management’s computer trading business, Cubist Systematic Strategies, according to a memo to employees Wednesday. Matthew Granade, who oversaw Fusion, will leave along with his deputy.

“I’ve decided to consolidate efforts on the Cubist side of the wall,” Cohen said in the memo. “This consolidation of intellectual capital and the firm’s resources will allow us to scale and grow the business more strategically.”

The move is the latest in Cohen’s tinkering with his quantitative operations as he expanded into those strategies, pushing for the firm’s scientifically minded quants to collaborate with long-short managers. In recent years, Point72 integrated various quant efforts into its discretionary business, but the process was at times a struggle.

Granade also heads market intelligence and Point72’s venture arm. His departure comes after Cohen decided to move Fusion -- which functions as a central algorithm that takes investment ideas from quantitative researchers -- to Cubist from its discretionary operation. That decision comes about two months after Denis Dancanet joined Point72 to run Cubist, replacing Ross Garon.

Point72 plans to keep its internal alpha-capture strategy -- a component of Fusion that uses signals from traditional long-short equity managers to make investment decisions -- on the discretionary side of the firm, the memo said. That strategy will be overseen by Henrique Chang on an interim basis, working with Jerrell Watts, the head of algorithmic trading.

Cubist, which manages about 20% of the firm’s assets, has operated much like the discretionary side of the business, with multiple teams of portfolio managers working independently from one another. Systematic firms with a centralized platform have researchers feeding ideas into one machine -- an approach Cohen had planned to one day use within Cubist, alongside the teams.

Point72 spokeswoman Tiffany Galvin-Cohen confirmed the details of the memo and declined to comment further.

Granade will work closely with the firm through year-end to “ensure a seamless transition,” the memo said. Mike Soss, who helped oversee Fusion as Granade’s deputy, is also departing.

Others within the firm will assume Granade’s existing responsibilities, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Granade’s role in overseeing market intelligence -- Point72’s push into alternative data -- will be filled by his deputy, Kirk McKeown.

In the memo, Cohen said he remains “deeply committed to our data and innovation efforts, as well as our Point72 Ventures and Point72 Hyperscale businesses,” adding that the firm “must continue to innovate and adapt to ever-changing market opportunities.”

Before joining Point72, Granade co-founded Domino Data Lab, a firm that gives data scientists a way to review their old work and collaborate with professional colleagues. He was previously co-head of research at Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates until 2012. There, he expanded the firm’s research team and published its “Daily Observations” briefing.

Granade was originally brought in to oversee Point72’s big data group Aperio, along with other efforts. Aperio was later consolidated with other groups into what is now market intelligence. Shortly after Granade joined, data scientist Michael Recce, who first led Aperio, left after 15 months at the firm. His replacement, chief data scientist David Loaiza, also later departed.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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