The world’s 25 best-paid hedge fund managers saw their wealth soar by 50 per cent last year to a combined $21.1 billion, as surging equity markets led fund managers to their most profitable year since 2010.
According to an annual "Rich list" survey from Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine, four managers earned more than $1 billion, while average earnings stood at $846 million among the top 25.
However, while the earnings may appear staggering, the total earnings for the top 25 are only the fourth highest in 13 years, while the average earnings of $846 million are just the fifth best return. It’s also a male only club, with no women featured in either the top 25, or longer top 50 list.
David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, topped the list by bringing home a staggering $3.5 billion last year, thanks to gains of 42 per cent in his two main funds. It's the second year in a row that Tepper has ranked in first place, and made the grade this year thanks to some canny investments in out-of favour airlines such as American Airlines and Delta.
Mr Tepper may be a familiar name to Irish people, given his much-publicised pronouncements on Bank of Ireland. He bought Bank of Ireland bonds in 2011, and in an interview with Bloomberg TV in January 2013, he told how the government tried to burn him.
“We invested in the Bank of Ireland… and we bought their bonds, subordinated bonds…They [BOI]wanted to ‘cram us down’ … So we took them to court.”
“We were gonna go into the English and Irish courts to fight the Bank of Ireland, and fight the Irish Government for that matter…We finally won at the beginning of this year.”
Steven Cohen, of SAC Capital Advisors, was in second place with $2.4 billion, followed by John Paulson, who famously made billions on the financial crash of 2007/2008 by betting against sub-prime mortgages, who came in third with earnings of some $2.3 billion.
Not all hedge funds had such a good year however. While record levels of money are flowing into the sector - investors put $63.7 billion into hedge funds last year alone - the average hedge fund returned just 9 per cent in 2013.