Bridgewater Claims Crown As Largest Hedge Fund Manager

Apr 23 2009 | 10:57am ET

Bridgewater Associates was one of just a handful of the largest hedge funds to actually add assets last year, enough to make it that largest hedge fund manager in the world at the end of 2008.

The Westport, Conn.-based firm topped Alpha magazine’s 2009 Hedge Fund 100 with $38.6 billion, $2.6 billion more than it managed at the end of 2007. Bridgewater dethroned JPMorgan Asset Management, which had held the top spot for two years, as JPMorgan saw its hedge fund assets plummet 26.4% to $32.9 billion.

Paulson & Co. also added assets to finish 2008 with $29 billion, good enough for third place. Last year, the firm, which made its name and fortune two years ago shorting subprime mortgages, was the eighth-largest fund manager in last year’s rankings.

All told, the largest 100 hedge funds in the world managed 23.7% less than they had a year earlier, down to $1.03 trillion from $1.35 trillion, the record set at the end of 2007. The top 10 on the list saw their assets fall almost 12% to a combined $264 billion. In the whole list, just 17 firms added to their asset total from last year.

For the most part, the turmoil in the hedge fund market last year merely reshuffled that top 10: D.E. Shaw & Co. rose to fourth place from sixth, despite shedding 11.3% of its assets, while Brevan Howard Asset Management jumped from 11th to fifth by adding 27.8% to its asset total. The Man Group and Soros Fund Management were the other two newcomers to the elite decile, rising to sixth from 12th and eighth from 18th, respectively. Och-Ziff Capital Management fell to seventh from fifth, losing more than one-third of its assets, while Goldman Sachs dropped to ninth from seventh, shedding 29.5% of its assets. Tied for 10th are last year’s second- and fourth-largest hedge funds, respectively, Farallon Capital Management and Renaissance Technologies.

Barclays Global Investors and GLG Partners were the only firm to drop out of the top 10. BGI fell to 12th from ninth after losing 35.2% of its assets, while GLG plummeted 20 places to 30th, from 10th, after losing 51.9% of its assets.

The Alpha 100 features 18 new hedge fund managers this year, most of them towards the bottom of the list. Joining them down there are some of the biggest asset losers of last year. Harbinger Capital Partners, which lost 60.8% of its assets, fell from 16th place to 57th, Atticus Capital dropped 60% of its assets, and from 13th to 51st, Marshal Wace shed 56.1% of its assets, and fell from 26th to 66th, Gartmore Investment Management also lost more than half of its assets and dropped from 42nd to 71st.

Also among the biggest losers: Citadel Investment Group, which shed 46.4% of its assets last year to drop to $10.7 billion overall, and from 13th to 33rd on the Alpha list.

The Top 25 Hedge Fund Firms

rank firm assets
1 Bridgewater Associates $38.6 billion
2 JPMorgan Asset Management $32.9 billion
2 Paulson & Co. $29 billion
4 D.E. Shaw & Co. $28.6 billion
5 Brevan Howard Asset Management $26.8 billion
6 Man Investments $24.4 billion
7 Och-Ziff Capital Management $22.1 billion
8 Soros Fund Management $21 billion
9 Goldman Sachs Asset Management $20.6 billion
10 Farallon Capital Management $20 billion
10 Renaissance Technologies $20 billion
12 Barclays Global Investors $17 billion
13 Baupost Group $16.8 billion
14 BlueBay Asset Management $16.7 billion
15 Moore Capital Management $16.5 billion
16 Avenue Capital Group $16.2 billion
17 King Street Capital Management $15.9 billion
18 Angelo Gordon & Co. $14 billion
19 Fortress Investment Group $13.7 billion
20 BlueCrest Capital Management $13.3 billion
21 Lone Pine Capital $13 billion
22 Elliott Management $12.8 billion
23 Winton Capital Management $12.4 billion
24 Eton Park Capital Management $12 billion
24 Lansdowne Partners $12 billion
24 SAC Capital Advisors $12 billion

source: Alpha magazine

 

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