This Hedge Fund Made the Most Money for Investors Last Year

Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global returned more to investors in 2020 than any other manager — but Bridgewater still tops an annual all-time winners list.

Chase Coleman (Amanda L. Gordon/Bloomberg)

Chase Coleman

(Amanda L. Gordon/Bloomberg)

Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global earned its investors $10.4 billion in 2020 — the most of any hedge fund that made the annual list of the top 20 managers compiled by London fund-of-funds firm LCH Investments.

The top 20 managers made $63.5 billion for their investors in 2020, according to LCH’s ranking, released Monday, which ranks managers by the gains they’ve made for investors since their inception. Over time, they’ve returned some $615.1 billion to investors, which comes to 43.3 percent of the net gains in the industry.

Tiger Global, which is joining the list for the first time, has earned its investors $26.5 billion since its inception in 2001, according to LCH. That puts Tiger Global at number 14. As Institutional Investor previously reported, Tiger Global’s long-short fund was up 48.4 percent for the year, its second-best ever. Tiger Global also has a long-only fund, which gained 65.1 percent, and those gains are also included in the totals.

Traditional active managers proved to be some of the biggest winners last year.

“It was the year of the comeback of the hedge fund,” Chairman Rick Sopher told II in a phone interview.

“In navigating the especially volatile markets of 2020, talented individual managers with vision and flexibility performed better than programmed machines,” he said in a press release accompanying the report. “Those managers able to differentiate between sector winners and losers made spectacular gains.”

Izzy Englander’s Millennium Management came in second last year, making $10.2 billion for its investors in 2020. The big gains catapulted the multistrategy fund, a perennial name on the LCH list, to seventh place, up from twelfth the previous year. Millennium, launched in 1989, has earned investors $36 billion since then.

Like Tiger Global, two other big winners of 2020 are descendants of Julian Robertson’s famed Tiger Management hedge fund. The other so-called Tiger cubs included Steve Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital, returning $9.1 billion to investors in 2020 — the third-biggest gain — and Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global Investors, which had net gains of $7 billion.

Like Tiger Global, Lone Pine and Viking both run long-only funds as well as traditional long-short equity funds. Last year, one of Viking’s funds surged 51.6 percent, II previously reported. Its long-only fund gained 33.1 percent. Lone Pine’s long-short fund gained 30 percent, while its long-only fund rose 46 percent, II also reported earlier.

“These equity managers really did a great job. They are way outperforming market indexes and taking less risk,” said Sopher.

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Lone Pine is now in third place, returning $42.3 billion to investors since its debut in 1996, and Viking is sixth, with net gains of $36.6 billion since it was launched in 1999.

Meanwhile, quant and systematic managers, like Two Sigma and Renaissance Technologies, have fallen off the list due to poor performance.

“Conditions favored man over machine, and it was notable that Renaissance Technologies, a machine-driven manager, has dropped out of the top 20,” Sopher said.

II previously reported that the funds Renaissance offers to outside investors had steep losses last year, with one fund falling more than 22 percent and another down more than 33 percent through December 25. It had ranked fifteenth on the 2019 list. Renaissance declined to comment.

Two Sigma, which ranked nineteenth in 2018, fell off the list in 2019.

That said, Ray Dalio’s computer-driven Bridgewater Associates, which lost its investors $12.1 billion in 2020, maintained its number one ranking. The firm — the oldest one on the list still managing outside money — has returned $46.5 billion to investors since its inception in 1975 and now has $101.9 billion in assets under management, according to LCH.

However Bridgewater’s assets under management declined some $30 billion, from $131 billion, indicating that the firm both lost money and had redemptions, according to Sopher. Bridgewater declined to comment.

The only other firm on the top 20 list that lost money last year was John Paulson’s Paulson & Co., which was in the process of winding down its funds to outside money and becoming a family office. Investors had lost $1.2 billion last year before the funds were shut down at the end of June. Despite Paulson’s fall from grace in recent years, investors in his funds still made $17.8 billion since he opened his firm in 1994. Paulson could not be reached for comment.

Others on the top-20 list include Citadel, D.E. Shaw Group, Elliott Associates, Baupost Group, Sculptor Capital Management (formerly known as Och-Ziff), Farallon Capital Management, Appaloosa Management, TCI, Point72 Asset Management (previously SAC Capital), Egerton, Brevan Howard, and King Street Capital. In addition, Soros Fund Management and Moore Capital, both of which have ceased running outside money, are also among the top 20 all-time earners.