Soros, Paulson Post Biggest Returns Since Inception

Sep 13 2010 | 11:53am ET

This year has been a rough one for Paulson & Co. But since its inception, the New York-based hedge fund giant (almost) cannot be beat when it comes to making money for investors.

Paulson has made $26.4 billion in net gains since it was founded in 1994, according to a new study by LCH Investments. The only hedge fund manager that can claim a better record is Soros Fund Management, which has earned $32 billion in net gains—but George Soros has been at it for more than 20 years longer, setting up his firm in 1973.

All told the top 10 hedge fund managers in the world have accounted for one-third of all of the industry’s returns, some $153 billion. The top 100 hedge fund managers have made three-quarters of all of the industry’s returns since inception.

“There are these great managers who made tons of money, but among the other 7,000 [hedge fund managers] there’s a lot of disappointment,” LCH’s Rick Sopher told the Financial Times.

Soros is not only the top hedge fund manager in terms of total returns; he’s also one of only two in the top 10 who’s earned more money for investors than he’s currently managing, $28 billion. The other is Caxton Associates, which has returned $12.8 billion since 1983, but manages just $6 billion.

Bridgewater Associates came in third in the LCH rankings, raking in $13.3 billion in gains since its Pure Alpha strategy was launched in 1975. Caxton is next, followed by Baupost Group, which has returned $12.5 billion since it launched in 1983.

Europe’s largest hedge fund—and only entrant into the top 10—Brevan Howard Asset Management has made $12.5 billion since it debuted in 2003. Appaloosa Management has made $12.4 billion over the past 17 years, and Moore Capital Management $11.5 billion over the last 20. SAC Capital Advisors is up $10.9 billion since its founding in 1992. Edward Lampert’s ESL Investments has returned $9.5 billion since 1988.


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