Call it the
changing of the guard. In 2011, a year when a majority of
hedge fund managers lost money, 15 of the 25 managers who top
annual ranking of the biggest earners failed to make the
previous years list. In fact, eight individuals are
making their debut on the 11-year-old ranking, which first
appeared in the pages of Institutional
Sure, the top five earners are well-known names to readers
familiar with the Rich List: Bridgewater Associates'
Ray Dalio ($3.9 billion), Icahn Capital Managements Carl
Icahn ($2.5 billion), Renaissance Capitals James Simons
($2.1 billion), Citadels Kenneth Griffin ($700 million)
and SAC Capitals Steven Cohen ($585 million).
Yet all but five of the rest of the top earners are making
their debut or reappearing after a one- or two-year absence.
Managers such as Centaurus Energys John Arnold,
Bridgewaters Greg Jensen and Robert Prince, Tiger
Globals Chase Coleman, Viking Capitals O. Andreas
Halvorsen and ValueActs Jeff Ubben whose
strategies are all very different figure to become the
next fixtures in the top 25 ranking as their respective firms
continue to grow in size.
At the same time, a number of hedge fund managers who have
historically dominated the list have retired, including Soros
Fund Managements George Soros, his one-time sidekick
Stanley Druckenmiller of Duquesne Capital, Caxton Associates'
Bruce Kovner and Highbridge Capital Managements Henry
By providing a rare peek at the wealth earned by the
individuals who operate within this secretive universe, the
list documents the level of success they have achieved.
While the 25 highest earners made a combined $14.4 billion
last year, the lowest sum in three years, they earned more than
$136 billion from 2001 through 2011, an average of nearly $500
million per person per year, which includes their share of the
fees as well as gains on their considerable amount of capital
in the funds (not counting losing years).
As a result, hedge fund managers have become modern day
Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts. And like their
predecessors, they have had a major influence on society in
everything from real estate to charities. Not only have they
helped drive up the value of luxury Manhattan apartments,
Fairfield, Connecticut homes, Hampton summer houses, many kinds
of art and even major league sports franchises, they have also
donated hundreds of millions of dollars to build wings of
hospitals and museums and to fund college programs, buildings
and sports arenas. They have shelled out billions of dollars to
help the poor and medically unfortunate, including those
suffering from Parkinsons disease and autism. Hedge funds
have also quietly funded scores of lesser-known charities.