Meet The Top 10 Earning Hedge Fund Managers Of 2009

David Tepper

Hedge fund managers these days are living the dream.

Last year, John Paulson broke records when he made arguably the greatest trade of all time against crappy subprime bonds.

But even John Paulson’s 2008 earnings don’t top David Tepper’s this year.

Tepper’s Appaloosa reaped the benefits of banks rolling in distressed debt assets after the financial crisis. Eventually they improved and it paid off and he tops Absolute Return+Alpha’s list of the highest hedge fund earners this year.

The rest of the usual suspects of course did well too, but the real winner here is Tepper.

See the other top hedge fund manager earners of 2009 >

10. Phil Falcone, Harbinger Capital, $825 million

What you need to know about Phil Falcone:

  • He's building a 4G wireless network
  • He and his hot wife were recently sued for sexual harassment
  • He returned 46.55% for 2009
  • He made a killing in distressed debt last year (just not as much as Tepper)
  • He owns a hockey team, the Minnesota Wild

8. John Arnold, Centaurus Advisors, $900 million (tied)

What you need to know about John Arnold:

  • He was a star trader at Enron
  • He built underground caves to store oil
  • He might be the youngest billionaire trader

8. Ken Griffin, Citadel, $900 million (tied)

What you need to know about Ken Griffin:

  • He's only 41 and he's already had a mid life crisis
  • He loves milkshakes
  • He runs a tight ship at Citadel

6. Ed Lampert, ESL Investments, $1.3 billion (tied)

What you need to know about Eddie Lampert:

  • He's a prickly hedge-fund tycoon who has cast himself as a retail maverick ever since he merged the Sears and Kmart chains in 2005
  • Right now he's betting on big financials
  • At one point in 2008, he was losing $30 million per hour

6. Carl Icahn, Icahn Capital, $1.3 billion (tied)

What you need to know about Carl Icahn:

  • He's a 'corporate raider' aka activist investor
  • Gordon Gekko is in part based off him (and in part based off Ivan Boesky)
  • Right now he wants to buy Lionsgate

5. Steve Cohen, SAC Capital, $1.4 billion

What you need to know about Steve Cohen:

  • He's embattled in a very public and embarassing divorce lawsuit right now
  • It looks like he will win
  • He works his arse off
  • He owns a Damien Hirst shark that he apparently says is a metaphor for the hedge fund biz

4. John Paulson, Paulson & Co, $2.3 billion

What you need to know about John Paulson:

  • He called the housing crisis, bet against subprime bonds, and won big
  • If gold goes to $5000, he might become the richest man in the world
  • His gold-only fund isn't doing so well
  • But it also took a while before his bet against subprime paid off

3. James Simon, Renaissance Tech, $2.5 billion

What you need to know about James Simons:

  • He founded Renaissance Tech, the biggest quant fund in the world
  • He retired in January
  • Sadly, he didn't go out on top, but he did send out an apology note apologizing for shoddy returns.
  • Ren Tech employs 90 PhDs

2. George Soros, Soros Fund/Quantum Endowment, $3.3 billion

What you need to know about George Soros:

  • He is most famous for breaking the Bank of England
  • Right now he wants to buy a big stake in India's stock exchange
  • He's friends with Nouriel Roubini
  • He parties hard

1. David Tepper, Appaloosa, $4 billion

What you need to know about David Tepper:

  • He made a killing in distressed debt last year
  • Now he's buying airlines
  • He's funny

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