Bridgewater Back On Top Of Billion Dollar Club Ranking

Sep 30 2010 | 1:54pm ET

Even among the very biggest hedge funds, the richest are getting richer at the expense of the slightly less rich.

Bridgewater Associates rode a strong first half from its flagship Pure Alpha Fund to retake the top spot in AR magazine’s biannual Billion Dollar Club survey. The Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund giant now manages $50.9 billion, nearly 17% more than it did at the beginning of the year, pushing JPMorgan Chase back into second place among the largest U.S. hedge funds.

JPMorgan also enjoyed some growth in its assets under management, adding $2.7 billion in the first six months of the year. The investment banking giant was able to do so despite troubles in its main hedge fund unit, Highbridge Capital Management, which saw its assets drop by more than $1 billion in the first half.

Paulson & Co. and Soros Fund Management held on to the third and fourth place spots in the survey, with the former managing $31 billion ($1 billion less than in January) and the latter $27 billion (flat). Och-Ziff Capital Management rose to fifth place with $25.3 billion in assets, displacing D.E. Shaw Group, which fell right out of the top 10 after seeing its assets under management drop nearly $6 billion in the first half.

All told, hedge funds operating in the Americas managed $1.2 trillion at the end of June, up 1.7% from January. Global hedge fund assets are also up slightly, rising 4.4% in the first half to $1.9 trillion.

Stagnation was the word among billion-dollar club members, too. Their ranks grew by just four hedge funds over the last six months to 217. And 46% of them are either flat in terms of asset growth or down in the first half.

“The broader market's erratic behavior has challenged hedge funds, as many managers are having a tough time posting substantial returns,” Amanda Cantrell, managing editor of AR, said. “Though many hedge funds lost money and suffered redemptions in the first half of the year, the biggest firms in the industry still managed to increase assets, if only slightly.”

The biggest hedge funds—those with more than $5 billion in assets—saw those assets grown by 1% to $851 billion since Jan. 1. There are 72 hedge funds managing more than $5 billion, accounting for 71% of Billion Dollar Club assets, the same as in January.

The survey also shows New York holding its own as the U.S.—and global—hedge fund hub. Some 59% of Billion Dollar Club assets ($714.8 billion) are managed by New York firms, down slightly from 60% in January.

AR's Billion Dollar Club: The Top 10

rank    firm assets
1 Bridgewater Associates $50.9 billion
2 JPMorgan Chase $41.1 billion
3 Paulson & Co. $31 billion
4 Soros Fund Management $27 billion
5 Och-Ziff Capital Management $25.3 billion
6 BlackRock $22.83 billion
7 Angelo Gordon & Co. $22.68 billion
8 Baupost Group $22 billion
9 Farallon Capital Management $20 billion
10 King Street Capital Management       $19.3 billion

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