JPMorgan Named Largest U.S. Hedge Fund

Mar 9 2010 | 3:48am ET

JPMorgan Chase has reclaimed its throne as the largest hedge fund manager in the U.S. as the biggest hedge funds in the country nearly doubled their assets in 2009.

JPMorgan Chase—which includes Highbridge Capital Management—now manages $50.4 billion, more than 50% more than at the beginning of last year, according to the biannual AR Billion Dollar Club survey. That was enough for the Wall Street giant to retake the top spot from Bridgewater Associates, which grew by 17.84% in the second half of last year to reach $43.6 billion.

Paulson & Co. held steady as the third-largest hedge fund manager in the U.S., boosting its assets by 10.35% last year to $32 billion. Soros Fund Management took fourth with $27 billion—28.57% more than a year earlier—and D.E. Shaw Group fell to fifth with $23.6 billion, down 17.48%.

All told, 213 U.S. hedge funds manage at least $1 billion, down from 218 a year earlier. The group manages a combined $1.182 trillion, just 4.2% more than at the beginning of 2009. But that growth was concentrated: The 70 firms with at least $5 billion almost doubled their assets, while the 143 with less than $5 billion grew by $28 billion total.

The New York area remains the undisputed center of the hedge fund world, according to the survey. Firms managing 60% of U.S. hedge fund assets, some $708 billion, are based in the Empire State, while neighboring Connecticut boasts firms with $158.86 billion. Massachusetts knocked California out of third place, with $87.49 billion, meaning that more than 80% of the U.S.’s hedge fund assets are managed by Northeastern firms.

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