Top-Paid Hedge Fund Managers Make $11.6B, Biggest Losers Shed $6.2B

Apr 1 2009 | 6:07am ET

The economic turmoil of last year has brought about a big shakeup in the list of the top-earning hedge fund managers.

Just five of last year’s top 25 earners were back on the Alpha magazine list, and just 15 of last year’s top 50 still made the list—which Alpha cut in half this year. What’s more, eight of last year’s biggest money makers were among the biggest money-losers in 2008.

All told, the top 25 hedge fund managers did pretty well: They took home an average of $464 million each, and their combined compensation of $11.6 billion made last year the third-best ever for the richest managers.

The best-paid hedge fund managers last year were Renaissance Technologies’ James Simons ($2.5 billion), Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson ($2 billion), Centaurus Energy’s John Arnold ($1.5 billion), Soros Fund Management’s George Soros ($1.1 billion) and Bridgewater Associates’ Raymond Dalio ($780 million).

Rounding out the top 10 were Bruce Kovner of Caxton Associates ($640 million), David Shaw of D.E. Shaw Group ($275 million), Stanley Druckenmiller of Duquesne Capital Management ($260 million) and, tied for ninth place at $250 million apiece, David Harding of Winton Capital Management, Alan Howard of Brevan Howard Asset Management and John Taylor of FX Concepts.

Other notable moneymakers last year include James Chanos of Kynikos Associates (12th place, $225 million), Roy Niederhoffer of R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management (14th place, $200 million) and Paul Touradji of Touradji Capital Management (16th place, $140 million).

Befitting the disaster that struck the industry last year, Alpha also offered up a list of the hedge fund managers who lost the most in 2008, and it includes some very prominent names. All told, they lost last year more than twice the amount they made in 2007.

Citadel Investment Group’s Kenneth Griffin, who made $1.5 billion in 2007, lost $2 billion last year. Edward Lampert of ESL Partners made the biggest losers list for the second straight year, losing $1 billion last year on top of the $1.1 billion he lost two years ago.

SAC Capital Advisors’ Steven Cohen, who opens an exhibit of part of his art collection worth $450 million tomorrow in New York, lost $750 million last year. Jeffrey Gendell of Tontine Partners lost $625 million in 2008, Lone Pine Capital’s Stephen Mandell lost $550 million, BP Capital’s T. Boone Pickens lost $450 million, Appaloosa Management’s David Tepper lost $425 million and Icahn Enterprises’ Carl Icahn lost $400 million.

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