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Hedge Fund Rich List: Who Stayed Afloat in Worst Year Since 2008?

Hedge Fund Rich List: Who Stayed Afloat in Worst Year Since 2008?

Hedge Fund Rich List: Who Stayed Afloat in Worst Year Since 2008?

Every year, Institutional Investor’s Alpha documents the performance of the world’s most elite investors: hedge fund managers. The Hedge Fund Rich List, in its 14th year of publication, is a “who’s who” of the industry and highlights the performances of the most successful investment managers in the world.

Our infographic today is based on this report, and it breaks down the last year for this elite group.

The Worst Year Since the Financial Crisis

The performance of this collective of top-notch investors was the worst as a whole since the Financial Crisis in 2008. In the previous five years, their total earnings averaged $19.3 billion. Last year, the group brought in a paltry $11.6 billion. This brought average earnings per person down to $467 million over the year from $846 million in 2013.

This is counterintuitive based on the fact that the S&P 500 gained an impressive 13.7% on the year in 2014. Interestingly, only about half of the managers beat the index’s performance, with the rest falling into single-digit return territory.

Minimum Wage

The minimum amount of earnings to make the list dropped significantly from $300 million to $175 million. This is the lowest minimum earnings in the last three years.

David Tepper, of Appaloosa Management, is barely staying afloat. After having one of the best five-year stretches of performance in hedge fund history, he saw his earnings decline 88.6% in 2014. He had finished #1 overall in 2013, but only saw a 2.2% gain over the last year.

Many managers were not even lucky enough to get the “minimum wage”.

John Paulson of Paulson & Co., who famously made his fortune betting against the US Housing Market in 2007, ended up tanking in 2014 with his second worst year ever. His Advantage Plus fund fell 36% while his Advantage fund dropped 29%.

The Top 10 Investors

The managers that had the highest returns were as follows:

10. Charles (Chase) Coleman III of Tiger Global Management – $425 million
9. O. Andreas Halvorsen of Viking Global Investors – $450 million
8. David Shaw of D.E. Shaw Group – $530 million
7. Larry Robbins of Glenview Capital Management – $570 million
6. Michael Platt of BlueCrest Capital Management – $800 million
5. Israel (Izzy) Englander of Millennium Management – $900 million
4. Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management – $950 million
3. Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates – $1.1 billion
2. James Simons of Renaissance Technologies – $1.2 billion
1. Kenneth Griffin of Citadel – $1.3 billion

Profiles on those that broke $1 billion:

Ray Dalio, the legendary founder of Bridgewater Associates, along with two of his associates, made the full list of 25 earners. Bridgewater uses computers and humans to make decisions in 199 markets. Ray took home $1.1 billion.

Renaissance’s intense data focus helped James Simons qualify to the Rich List every year for the last 14 years. He finished #2 with $1.2 billion in earnings.

Kenneth Griffin has made the Rich List 13 times, however this is his first time finishing #1 overall. The founder and CEO of Citadel posted gains of 18.3% in its multistrategy funds driven largely by profits related to the equity markets.

What’s Ahead for 2015?

While 2014 was a tumultuous year for hedge fund managers, it is clear 2015 will be at least as challenging and interesting. Global headwinds such as the Greek Crisis and volatile Chinese equity markets will test even the most seasoned investors.

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