We heard a lot about CEO pay when Wall Street firms doled out their annual bonuses
earlier this year. Of course, any bonus at all could be interpreted as excessive
after the massive taxpayer-funded bailouts that rescued the big banks from failure.
But Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's $9 million 2009 bonus and JPMorgan CEO Jamie
Dimon's $17 million bonus pale in comparison to the top hedge fund managers' paychecks.
According to a ranking by AR: Absolute Return+Alpha magazine, the top 25 best-paid hedge
fund managers made $25.3 billion in 2009 -- over $1 billion each on average.
(The lowest-paid on the list earned $350 million, but seven of them actually brought
home more than a billion dollars.) And you've likely never heard of the manager who made
the most -- $4 billion -- this year.
Check out the top five:
1.DAVID TEPPER $4,000,000,000
David Tepper, who heads Appaloosa Management, made $4 billion last year, making him the best paid hedge fund manager, according to AR: Absolute Return+Alpha magazine. He told the NYT that he bet that the country would ensure its banks' survival: “We bet on the country’s revival,” he said. “Those who keep their heads while others are panicking usually do well.”
2. GEORGE SOROS $3,300,000,000
George Soros, who raked in $3.3 billion, was the second-best paid hedge fund manager last year.
3. JAMES SIMONS $2,500,000,000
James Simons, who heads Renaissance Technologies, made $2.5 billion last year, making him the third best-paid hedge fund manager
4. JOHN PAULSON $2,400,000,000
John Paulson, who was paid $2.4 billion, was the fourth-best paid hedge fund manager last year
5. STEVE COHEN $1,400,000,000
Steve Cohen, who runs SAC Capital Advisors, made $1.4 billion last year,
making him the fifth best-paid hedge fund manager.