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Steven Cohen’s Point72 Hires New Head of Data and Analytics
Investment firm hires Matthew Granade as Wall Street delves into how to find profit-driving information from torrents of data

Updated July 30, 2015 5:59 p.m. ET

The $11 billion investment firm run by Steven A. Cohen continued its push into the world of big data, hiring the former co-head of research at hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates LP to be its new chief market intelligence officer.

Matthew Granade, 38 years old, will oversee Point72 Asset Management LP’s data sourcing and analysis efforts. He said in an interview that he decided to join the firm after Mr. Cohen and Point72’s president, Douglas Haynes, extolled the firm’s efforts in data and analytics.

“Steve explained that this was the way the firm needs to evolve,” he said. “My personal feeling is that this is a very exciting time in this space. Investing now isn’t just about earnings estimates and 10ks. It’s about satellite imagery, sensors and mobile devices. The more you can process those things, the more edge you’ll have.”

Point72Formerly known as SAC Capital Advisors LP, Point72 has been trying to distance itself from its past since SAC agreed in 2013 to plead guilty to insider-trading charges, pay $1.8 billion in fines and stop managing money for outside clients. The firm also lost much of its senior investment staff, and Mr. Cohen is still awaiting the outcome of a civil case from the Securities and Exchange Commission for failure to supervise employees later found guilty of insider trading.

Mr. Cohen has long been known as a stock picker who makes major decisions on his own, even while the firm invested in new analytical tools. It isn’t clear how much these efforts have changed its investment approach.

Point72’s dive into data comes at a time of growing interest among Wall Street firms into how to find profit-driving information from torrents of data.

So-called quantitative investment firms, such as $25 billion Two Sigma Investments, have long been big consumers of data. Such firms use mathematics to sift through huge amounts of data for clues about the direction of stock prices or futures contracts. They analyze everything from social-media sentiment to satellite imagery that shows them how many cars are in parking lots of big retailers.

Investment firms that focus on more-traditional measures of companies’ health also have sought to increase their use of sophisticated data. Oil investors for years have bought expensive information from companies that fly helicopters over storage facilities with infrared cameras that help detect the volume of oil stored inside.

Mr. Granade said new types of data have been emerging with greater frequency.

For example, after he left Bridgewater Mr. Granade served as an adviser to Orbital Insights Inc., a firm in Palo Alto, Calif., that has designed systems to analyze satellite images for useful information. The company’s first clients have been hedge funds.

Point72 has several data teams that develop insights for portfolio managers. Its Aperio group has about 30 people who find different sources of data, analyze it and then give it to trading groups.

Another group, called Canvas, is in charge of more-traditional Wall Street research and conducting surveys. Point72 also has several economists.

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