Surveys: Bridgewater Biggest, And Best, Hedge Fund

Sep 1 2009 | 1:37pm ET

Bridgewater Associates held on to its place as the largest hedge fund firm in the U.S., and is also the most highly-rated among investors, according to a pair of new surveys.

Bridgewater tops the semiannual Billion Dollar Club survey with $37 billion, according to AR magazine. That’s down 4.15% since January and 14.94% since last July.

The rest of the BDC’s top four remained unchanged, as well. JPMorgan Chase held on to second place, rising 9.42% over the last six months to $36 billion, with Paulson & Co. at third with $27.2 billion, D.E. Shaw Group in fourth with $26.7 billion and Soros Fund Management at five with $24 billion.

All told, the BDC manages a combined 4.4% less than six months ago, down to just $1.08 trillion. Just a year ago, the biggest U.S. hedge funds managed $1.7 trillion.

Bridgewater is also investors’ favorite hedge fund, according to the new Hedge Fund Report Card. The Connecticut-based firm earned 50.4 out of a possible 60 points, followed by Tudor Investment Corp. with 50 points, Paulson & Co. with 49.79 points, Highbridge Capital Management with 48 points and Taconic Capital Advisors with 47.67 points.

The two surveys appear in the inaugural issue of AR. The new publication is the product of publisher Institutional Investor’s decision to finally merge its two hedge fund magazines, Alpha and Absolute Return.

The report card asked investors to rate the top 50 hedge funds in the Billion Dollar Club based on six factors. It also asked investors how important those factors were to them, and “alignment of interests” came out on top. Independent oversight was second, alpha generation third, transparency fourth and infrastructure fifth. Perhaps surprisingly, given the recent redemption crises, liquidity terms were deemed least important, although it still got 7.19 points out of 10 in terms of importance.

AR's Billion Dollar Club: The Top 10 (or 12)

rank firm assets change from Jan. 1
1 Bridgewater Associates $37 billion -4.15%
2 JPMorgan Chase $36 billion +9.42%
3 Paulson & Co. $27.2 billion -6.21%
4 D.E. Shaw Group $26.7 billion -6.64%
5 Soros Fund Management $24 billion +14.29%
6 Goldman Sachs Asset Management $20.8 billion +0.97%
7 Och-Ziff Capital Management $20.7 billion -6.33%
8 Baupost Group $19 billion +13.10%
9 Farallon Capital Management $18 billion -10.00%
10 Angelo Gordon & Co. $17 billion +21.43%
10 Avenue Capital Group $17 billion +3.66%
10 Renaissance Technologies $17 billion -15.00%

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Editor's Note