Editor's Note

Who's the Biggest? Reconciling the Rankings

May 20 2011 | 2:24pm ET by Jon Shazar

Two lists of the world's largest hedge funds, released within weeks of one another, offered readers two somewhat different pictures of the top of the global industry. Why?

Bloomberg's numbers, issued in late April, show the Man Group reclaiming its place as the biggest hedge fund in the world, thanks to its acquisition of GLG Partners and that firm's $25 billion in assets. Two weeks later, Institutional Investor magazine again crowned Bridgewater Associates the biggest firm in its 10th annual Hedge Fund 100 ranking, calling Man the third-largest hedge fund in the world, behind JPMorgan Asset Management.

The differences didn't end there: Bloomberg said that Man had an impressive $69 billion in assets, to Bridgewater's $62. But II puts the latter's total at just under $59 billion and the former's at $40.6 billion, nearly $30 billion less than the Bloomberg figure.

Man itself reported assets under management of $69 billion as of the end of March. So what gives?

A spokesperson for Man told FINalternatives that Bloomberg and II are, in effect, not measuring the same thing. II's numbers are designed to show assets under management in single-manager hedge funds only, excluding long-only products and funds of hedge funds, as well.

"I spoke to the II research team and it transpires that they take out long-only and multi-manager funds in their research, which is why their numbers surprised us a little," Man’s spokesperson told FINalternatives.

Beyond the top three, there was broad agreement between the two lists. Paulson & Co. placed fourth in both and Brevan Howard fifth. Bloomberg has Och-Ziff Capital Management sixth and Soros Fund Management seventh, II reverses that order. BlackRock is eighth in both lists. Bloomberg has Highbridge Capital Management in ninth, while II appears to have included Bridgewater's assets in its totals for JPMorgan. Both lists have BlueCrest Capital Management next.

Other interesting differences include II's exclusion of Cerberus Capital Management, 11th on Bloomberg's list. Likewise, Avenue Capital Partners took 15th place in II's ranking but failed to make Bloomberg's top 20. Angelo Gordon & Co. cracks II's top 10, but settles for 13th in the Bloomberg ranking.


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