Top Hedge Fund Managers Earn Average Of $1 Billion Each

Apr 1 2010 | 9:59am ET

The salad days of huge hedge fund manager earnings returned last year, with the top 25 managers earning an average of more than $1 billion apiece.

All told, those 25 men earned a total of $25.3 billion, according to AR magazine, a new record. Also setting a record was the man atop that list, Appaloosa Management’s David Tepper, who earned $4 billion in management fees and on his own investment in the fund, which soared 130% last year. Tepper’s take-home eclipsed the record payday set in 2007 by Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson, who earned $3.7 billion three years ago.

George SorosGeorge SorosPaulson didn’t do too badly this year, either, earning $2.3 billion, topped only by Tepper, Soros Fund Management’s George Soros ($3.3 billion) and Renaissance Technologies’ James Simons ($2.5 billion).

Rounding out the top 10 are SAC Capital Advisers’ Steven Cohen ($1.4 billion), Icahn Associates’ Carl Icahn ($1.3 billion), ESL Investments’ Edward Lampert ($1.3 billion), Citadel Investment Group’s Kenneth Griffin ($900 million), Centaurus Energy’s John Arnold ($900 million) and Harbinger Capital Partners’ Phillip Falcone ($825 million).

Not only was last year’s payday a record for the top 25, it’s also a remarkable turnaround from 2008, when that group earned just $11.6 billion.

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