Top Titans 2012

//Top Titans 2012

Top Titans 2012

2012 Top Hedge Fund Manager Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

Rank: 1

Firm: Bridgewater Associates

Headquarters: Westport, Ct.

Earnings: $3 Billion

With nearly $120 billion in assets, Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates continued to post spectacular results in 2011 even as the average hedge fund lost money. With big bets on U.S. and German government bonds, Dalio’s funds produced returns in the 20% range in 2011. His methods are controversial and include videotaping meetings and encouraging brutal honesty among staffers. This tactic has paid off handsomely during the recent market turmoil. The son of a jazz musician, Dalio founded Bridgewater in his Manhattan apartment in 1975. At age 62, he is now trying to make sure the firm survives him, ceding more responsibility to senior staff and selling chunks to his employees and clients.

Jim Simons

James Simons

Rank: 2

Firm: Renaissance Technologies

Headquarters: East Setauket, N.Y.

Earnings: $2.1 Billion

The “Quant King” retired from his $20 billion hedge fund firm, Renaissance Technologies, in 2010, but he continues to play a role at the firm and enjoy its spoils. The firm’s funds earned net returns as high as 33% in 2011. The MIT grad started his career as a theoretical mathematician and was a code breaker for the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War. He later was head of the math department at SUNY-Stony Brook. In 1982 he founded Renaissance, which is based in East Setauket, N.Y. The fund uses computer modeling to find inefficiencies in highly liquid securities. Simons has shown a preference for hiring PhDs over MBAs. He chairs Math for America and supports autism research.




Carl Icahn

Rank: 3

Firm: Icahn Capital Management

Headquarters: New York

Earnings: $2 billion


Carl Icahn has been shaking up markets for more than 30 years, but 2011 was a notable year even by his outsized standards. Now 76, he returned his hedge fund’s outside money and decided to focus on investing his own funds as well as money belonging to his employees. His fund was up 35% thanks to successful bets on companies like Motorola Mobility and El Paso.

Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen

Rank: 4

Firm: SAC Capital Advisors

Headquarters: Stamford, Ct.

Earnings: $600 million


These continue to be interesting times for one of the most powerful forces in equity trading. Cohen, 56, just purchased a 4% stake in the New York Mets and is believed to be trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. A prolific art collector, Cohen was named to the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in January. But his $14 billion SAC Capital has been hit by a fresh wave of legal scrutiny–though neither SAC nor Cohen have been accused of any wrongdoing. In February federal prosecutors indicted Jon Horvath, a tech analyst at SAC’s Sigma Capital unit, marking the first time an SAC employee has been accused of insider-trading. Such distractions had no impact on SAC’s 2011 performance–the firm’s flagship fund returned 8% net of fees.

David Shaw

David Shaw

Rank: 5

Firm: D.E. Shaw & Co.

Headquarters: New York

Earnings: $580 million


Shaw is no longer actively involved in the day-to-day operations of his $23 billion D.E. Shaw & Co., but he remains involved in certain higher-level strategic decisions affecting the investment management businesses. D.E. Shaw’s Oculus fund produced an impressive 19.9% net return in 2011 and the firm’s Composite fund returned 6.2% net of fees.



Charles "Chase" Coleman III

Charles “Chase” Coleman III

Rank: 6

Firm: Tiger Global Management

Headquarters: New York

Earnings: $500 million


Coleman, 36, is a “Tiger Cub” trained at Julian Robertson’s famed hedge fund shop Tiger Management. He grew up rich and this year he got much richer, investing in hot tech names like Facebook, Linkedin and Zynga as well as startups in emerging markets from India to Brazil. His Tiger Global outperformed just about every hedge fund in the world in 2011, finishing the year up 45%. A direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, he’s a Deerfield and Williams grad who got going on his own in 2000 with $25 million stake from Robertson.

Kenneth Griffin

Kenneth Griffin

Rank: 7 (tie)

Firm: Citadel

Headquarters: Chicago

Earnings: $400 million


Griffin’s flagship Kensington and Wellington funds each produced net returns north of 20% in 2011–and have now clawed their way back to their pre-recession high-water marks. Despite a lack of performance fees, Griffin still benefited tremendously from his funds’ performance in 2011 thanks to his personal investment in the funds. With his historic 2008 now squarely behind him, Griffin unloaded Citadel’s investment banking unit to Wells Fargo, effectively extinguishing his dream of building a full-service financial institution.



Alan Howard

Alan Howard

Rank: 7 (tie)

Firm: Brevan Howard Asset Management

Headquarters: Geneva

Earnings: $400 million


After the performance in 2010, Howard returned to his winning ways last year following a move from London to Geneva. Brevan Howard’s $26 billion master fund led the way for the firm in 2011, returning 12.14% net of fees. The $36 billion outfit has become the destination of choice for many departing sell-side institutions ahead of Obama’s Volcker Rule. The firm, itself born when Howard and four Credit Suisse First Boston colleagues went solo in 2002, intends to continue to keep hiring so long as talent is available.


John Arnold

John Arnold

Rank: 9

Firm: Centaurus Advisors

Headquarters: Houston

Earnings: $360 million


After returning capital to investors in 2011, the former Enron star’s Centaurus Advisors now manages $3.5 billion, with Arnold’s personal capital accounting for well over half of the total AUM. Coming off of was what rumored to be his first down year in 2010, Arnold sported a new, leaner management fee of just 1.5% in 2011 and produced net returns of 9%.




Bruce Kovner

Bruce Kovner

Rank: 10

Firm: Caxton Associates

Headquarters: New York

Earnings: $210 million

After generating more than $12 billion in net gains for investors since he founded Caxton Associates in 1983, Kovner called it a career in September. The reins to the $10 billion firm were officially handed to former chief investment officer Andrew Law on January 1, 2012. Kovner, 67, admitted in a letter to his investors that he will miss the adrenaline rush of confronting markets every day.



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