The highest hedge fund manager salary of 2011 was $3B. Who was the lucky fund manager that took home this massive stack of bills? The answer is Ray Dalio.
#1 Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates: $3B
Dalio runs one of the biggest hedge funds in the world. His firm, Bridgewater, has $120B in assets under management and generated 20% returns in 2011. And when you are getting paid 2 and 20, this can add up to some serious coin. In the case of Dalio, his take home pay for 2011 is estimated to be $3B which puts him at the top of the hedge fund heap in 2011.
#2 James Simmons, Renaissance Technologies: $2.1B
Of course second place is the first loser. And the manager that claimed the second spot was James Simmons, who took down $2.1B in 2011 despite having â€œretiredâ€ in 2010. With $2.1B, I guess losing never felt so good. Heck, give me 1% of that and I wouldnâ€™t mind â€œlosingâ€ at all.
Compared to Bridgewater, Renaissance runs a relatively paltry $20B in AUM. But it has done so well over the years that it has returned almost all outside money and primarily manages its own internal funds.
#3 Carl Icahn: $2B
Icahn has terrorized underperforming CEOs for more than 30 years. In 2011, he earned a posh $2B despite having returned all outside investor money. He did this by generating a 35% return on his own money by betting big on Motorola Mobility and El Paso.
2008 sucked for Icahn, but since that horrid year his average annual return for the past 3 years was 27%. This is all the more impressive because he claims that he generated these staggering returns while being carefully hedged against the next massive 2008-like downturn that he fears is just around the corner.
#4 Steve Cohen, SAC Capital: $600M
Steve Cohen didnâ€™t have as hot of a year as the others and he took home a relatively paltry $600M. Overall, 2011 was a lackluster year for Cohen as he generated a puny 8% return, which might cause a little performance anxiety when compared to Icahnâ€™s 35% return. But since SAC has a massive $14B in assets under management, Cohen still managed to take home a decent paycheck.
#5 David Shaw, D.E. Shaw & Company: $580M
Like Simons, Shaw has an academic background and is retired from the day to day operations of his firm. But his salary for 2011 was significantly less than Simons. His firmâ€™s 20% returns for 2011 were no slouch and his firmâ€™s $23B in AUM are both impressive. But I assume that he may have chosen to divvy up the profit pie a little more equally than Simons and hence received a significantly lower paycheck. But still $580M is no laughing matter, it is enough to buy 580 Ferrariâ€™s, so I wouldnâ€™t complain if that was what I took home.