Billion-Dollar Club Gets Bigger, With Bridgewater On Top

Mar 2 2011 | 10:33am ET

In the Americas, the richest hedge funds got richer in the second half of last year, and the richest of them all, Bridgewater Associates, enriched itself the most.

There was little change in AR magazine's Top 10 list for the Western Hemisphere, other than that all but one of the firms got bigger. But Bridgewater got a lot bigger, adding $15.3 billion in assets in 2010—$8 billion of it in the second half—to put even more distance between itself and the second-biggest hedge fund manager in the Americas, JPMorgan Asset Management.

Bridgewater, which retook the top spot on the AR list from JPMorgan in the first half of last year, managed $58.9 billion on Jan. 1, 15.7% more than six months earlier. JPMorgan managed $45.5 billion in hedge fund assets, 10.7% more than at the end of June.

AR's top five were rounded out by Paulson & Co. ($36 billion), Soros Fund Management ($27.9 billion) and Och-Ziff Capital Management ($27.6 billion).

All told, AR's Billion Dollar Club grew by a eight members in the second half of last year, with 225 Americas hedge funds now topping $1 billion in assets.

"Industry assets haven't yet reached their peak, but hedge funds continue to recover from the 2008 crisis," AR managing editor Amanda Cantrell said. "The industry is also consolidating, with an entrenched leadership of firms managing more than $5 billion."

Entrenched, indeed: In the top 10, there was only one position change from six months ago, with Baupost Group and Angelo Gordon & Co. swapping seventh and eighth place. And New York remains entrenched as the biggest hedge fund center for the biggest hedge funds, as the home to firms running 60% of the $1.297 trillion managed by the Billion Dollar Club.

AR's Billion Dollar Club: The Top 10

rank firm assets change from June
1 Bridgewater Associates $58.9 billion +15.7%
2 JPMorgan Chase $45.5 billion +10.7%
3 Paulson & Co. $36 billion +16.7%
4 Soros Fund Management $27.9 billion +3.3%
5 Och-Ziff Capital Management $27.6 billion +9.1%
6 BlackRock $26.6 billion +16.5%
7 Baupost Group $23.4 billion +6.4%
8 Angelo Gordon & Co. $22 billion -3.0%
9 Farallon Capital Management $21.5 billion +7.5%
10 King Street Capital Management $19.9 billion +3.1%

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