Hedge-Fund Managers Highly Compensated for Totally Average Performance

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Smiling man holding money bags and bundles of cash
Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Corbis

In 2014, hedge funds didn’t do so hot, performing worse on average than Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. However, people running hedge funds managed to survive. The top 25 hedge fund managers — who are all men, and who have been men every year —  made $11.62 billion in compensation. The three managers at the top of the list all received more than $1 billion. Or, as Institutional Investors’ Alpha, which posts the list every year, put it, “Last year turned out to be the worst one for this elite group of investors since the financial markets melted down in 2008.” Lest you think this sounds odd, hedge fund managers — who also often appear on top political donor lists — were not rewarded as handsomely as they were in 2013, when the top 25 managers made a record-breaking $21.15 billion in compensation — 50 percent more than the previous year. However, 2013 also happened to be a disappointing year for most hedge funds. 

Hedge-Fund Managers Make Bank in Subpar Year