Dalio, Simons, Icahn Paid Billions In '11

Mar 1 2012 | 12:07pm ET

It paid to be a top-performing hedge fund manager in 2011—very, very well for the some of the biggest names in the industry, in fact.

Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio was named the highest-paid hedge fund manager of the year by Forbes magazine's annual list of the 40 best-paid hedgies, which estimates that Dalio earned $3 billion last year. And he did earn it: Bridgewater returned about 20% in 2011, the second-worst year on record for the hedge fund industry.

Two other hedge fund managers—both now technically retired—also took home more than $1 billion last year. Renaissance Technologies founder James Simons brought in $2.1 billion even though he stepped down from day-to-day management of the firm two years ago. (His successors, Peter Brown and Robert Mercer, also made the list with a 2011 payday of $125 million. Likewise, two of Dalio's deputies at Bridgewater, Greg Jensen and Robert Prince, were among the 40 with earnings of $70 million each.) Carl Icahn, who returned all outside capital in his hedge fund last year, made $2 billion.

After the top three, there's a steep drop-off in the paycheck department. SAC Capital Advisors' Steven Cohen is fourth on the list, but made just $600 million last year, less than one-third Icahn's payday.

To come up with its list, Forbes takes into account a hedge fund manager's returns, ownership and stake in his or her own funds. The numbers are before taxes.

Two other retired or semi-retired hedge fund managers made the top 10, continuing to reap the fruits of the firms they built: D.E. Shaw's David Shaw with $580 million, and Caxton Associates' Bruce Kovner with $210 million.

One of the year's top performers, Tiger Global Management's Chase Coleman, rode that 45% return to a $500 million payday. Likewise, Citadel Investment Group founder Kenneth Griffin was paid handsomely for his bounce-back year, earning $400 million.

Brevan Howard Asset Management founder Alan Howard also earned $400 million. Centaurus Advisors' John Arnold made $360 million.

Many of the managers on the list got their by simply not losing any of the huge amount of money that clients entrusted to them. But some less-well-known figures turned the year of a career into a huge payday, including NWI Management's Hari Hariharan, whose hedge fund returned 20% in 2011 and who made $100 million for himself, and veteran Albert Freidberg of Freidberg Mercantile Group, who made $60 million as his hedge fund rose almost 41%.

Only one woman made the list, BlueCrest Capital Management's Leda Braga, who earned $50 million last year.

Forbes' Highest-Paid Hedge Fund Managers 2011

rank manager firm 2011 earnings
1 Ray Dalio Bridgewater Associates $3 billion
2 James Simons Renaissance Technologies $2.1 billion
3 Carl Icahn Icahn Associates $2 billion
4 Steven Cohen SAC Capital Advisors $600 million
5 David Shaw D.E. Shaw Group $580 million
6 Chase Coleman Tiger Global Management $500 million
7 Kenneth Griffin Citadel Investment Group $400 million
7 Alan Howard Brevan Howard Asset Management $400 million
9 John Arnold Centaurus Advisors $360 million
10 Bruce Kovner Caxton Associates $210
11 Andreas Holvorsen Viking Global Investors $200 million
11 Paul Tudor Jones Tudor Investment Corp. $200 million
13 Israel Englander Millennium Management $190 million
14 Daniel Och Och-Ziff Capital Management $170 million
15 David Harding Winton Capital Management $150 million
16 Peter Brown Renaissance Technologies $125 million
16 Seth Klarman Baupost Group $125 million
16 Robert Mercer Renaissance Technologies $125 million
16 Michael Platt BlueCrest Capital Management $125 million
20 Nelson Peltz Trian Fund Management $110 million
21 Daniel Gold QVT Financial $100 million
21 Hari Hariharan NWI Management $100 million
21 Yan Huo Capula Investment Management $100 million
21 Russell Jeffrey Providence Investment Management $100 million
21 Philippe Laffont Coatue Management $100 million
21 Colm O'Shea Comac Capital $100 million
21 Paul Singer Elliott Management $100 million
28 Boaz Weinstein Saba Capital Management $90 million
28 Jaffray Woodrifft Quantitative Investment Management $90 million
30 David Einhorn Greenlight Capital $80 million
31 Greg Jensen Bridgewater Associates $70 million
31 Robert Prince Bridgewater Associates $70 million
31 Anthony Todd Aspect Capital $70 million
34 Albert Freidberg Freidberg Mercantile Group $60 million
35 Leda Braga BlueCrest Capital Management $50 million
35 John Thaler JAT Capital $50 million
37 Donald Brownstein Structure Portfolio Management $40 million
37 Robert Citrone Discovery Capital Management $40 million
37 Danny Yong Dymon Asia Capital $40 million
37 Joe Zhou Ortus Capital Management $40 million

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