The Billion Dollar Hedge Fund Club: Who’s Up, Who’s Down
Bridgewater remained secure in its position as the world’s largest hedge fund firm, while AQR bled assets.
The biggest hedge fund manager in the world is still Bridgewater Associates.
With $136 billion under management as of January 1, Ray Dalio’s hedge fund firm came in at the top of Absolute Return’s Billion Dollar Club, an annual ranking of asset managers with at least $1 billion in hedge fund assets. Bridgewater’s total came in slightly below the $137.3 billion Absolute Return recorded for Dalio’s firm last year, but was still far above any other hedge fund manager.
This year, Renaissance Technologies ranked as the second-largest hedge fund firm, with $75 billion in assets at the start of 2020 — a 23 percent increase from $61 billion 12 months prior.
The quantitative firm took the No. 2 spot from AQR Capital Management, which experienced a 33 percent decline in hedge fund assets over the 2019 calendar year. According to Absolute Return, AQR had $50 billion in hedge fund assets on January 1, down from $74.8 billion a year before. AQR declined to comment.
[II Deep Dive: The Billion Dollar Hedge Fund Club Is Shrinking]
Other hedge fund managers that saw declines in assets under management over the 12-month period included Guggenheim Partners, which fell from $6.16 billion to below $4 billion, and Sachem Head Capital Management, which dropped from $3.1 billion to $2.3 billion, according to Absolute Return. Guggenheim Partners did not respond to a request for comment by press time. A spokesperson for Sachem Head declined to comment.
PointState Capital was down to $5 billion in hedge fund assets at the start of 2020 — a 50 percent drop from a year prior, according to Absolute Return’s ranking. Bloomberg had reported in December that PointState’s co-founder Josh Samuelson was stepping down following double-digit losses in 2018.
The Billion Dollar Club also reported a decline in assets under management for Marathon Asset Management, which was estimated to have $1.85 billion in hedge fund assets, compared to $8.6 billion the year before. However, a person familiar with the firm said this drop reflected a shift to strategies that don’t qualify as hedge funds under Absolute Return’s ranking methodology, adding that firm-wide assets had increased over the last few years to roughly $19 billion.
Meanwhile, a number of hedge fund managers dropped below the $1 billion threshold, including Jim Chanos’s Kynikos Associates and Alden Global Capital, a buyer of newspaper chains.
Still, many hedge funds reported increases in assets under management, including Eminence Capital, which was up about 25 percent year-over-year to $5 billion, and Cerberus Capital Management, whose assets increased to $9.67 billion from $7.71 billion the year before.
Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor investment Corp. had hedge fund assets of $9.19 billion as of January 1, up from $7.2 billion a year prior, while Soroban Capital Partners’ hedge fund assets grew 41 percent to $7.9 billion, according to Absolute Return.
In addition, Tiger Global Management’s hedge fund assets increased by about 43 percent to just over $12 billion as of January 1.