Hedge fund managers earned billions in 2008, but investors lost

It might have been a down year for most of us, with even hedge fund investors licking their wounds from big losses, but top the 25 hedge fund managers still walked away with billions. Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine, which comes out today, reports that the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of $11.6 billion in 2008. But, even their gains were cut in half -- down from $22.5 billion for the top 25 in 2007.

The top earner was James Simons, the former math professor whose earned billions for the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, with total earnings of $2.5 billion in 2008. John Paulson, whose gains came from betting against the housing market, was in second place with gains of $2 billion, but that's down from $3.7 billion the year before. George Soros gained $1.1 billion. Some people dispute the Alpha numbers because they include estimates of the increase in the value of personal investments by the hedge fund managers, but none of the complainers offered an alternative ranking.

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