Since the 1940s, hedge funds have sought to capitalize on and take advantage of investment opportunities in one way or another, always pursuing maximum profit while managing risk. The managers of these funds employ sophisticated trading strategies and, as a result, are compensated generously for their work. The finance geeks at Credio compiled a list of the 30 wealthiest hedge fund managers in the industry based on their reported net worth.
#30 Paul Singer
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Hedge Fund: Elliot Management
Paul Singer, an active hedge fund manager of Elliott Management, investor, philanthropist and political activist, graduated from Harvard Law School and currently ranks No. 327 on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
The 16th highest-earning hedge fund manager, Singer is known for pioneering investments in sovereign debt and is a notable gay rights activist in the Republican party.
#29 Marc Lasry
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Hedge Fund: Avenue Capital
Born in Morocco, Marc Lasry is a co-founder of Avenue Capital Group and a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA basketball franchise.
His Jewish family migrated to the United States when he was 7 years old and since graduating from New York Law School, Lasry has founded and worked at several funds, including Amroc Investments and Avenue Capital Group, which he co-founded with his sister Sonia Gardner.
#28 David Einhorn
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Hedge Fund: Greenlight Capital
Cornell graduate David Einhorn uses a long-short strategy at Greenlight Capital. The investor is no stranger to controversy, as he is frequently mentioned in the media for short-selling major stocks including those from Lehman Brothers and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the maker of Keurig coffee brewers. The activist-investor made big news in February 2013, when he sued Apple Inc. in a move pressuring the company to issue a cash dividend.
#27 Glenn Dubin
Net Worth: $2 billion
Hedge Fund: Highbridge Capital Management
A New York native with humble beginnings, Glenn Dubin began his career as a stockbroker in the late ’70s and joined forces with a friend in 1984 to found Highbridge Capital, a fund of hedge funds.
It was sold to J.P. Morgan Chase in 2004, and Dubin now acts as the CEO of the fund under the larger J.P. Morgan Chase umbrella.
#26 Noam Gottesman
et Worth: $2.1 billion
Hedge Fund: GLG Partners
Israeli-American Noam Gottesman, a graduate of Columbia University, began his investment career at Goldman Sachs, where he worked out of the London office, eventually rising to the rank of executive director and manager of global equity portfolios for the private client group.
He left Goldman Sachs to found GLG Partners in 1995, and the partners sold to the Man Group in 2010. Gottesman continued on as co-CEO through 2012, and now acts as non-executive chairman for GLG in the United States.
#25 Chase Coleman III
Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Hedge Fund: Tiger Global Management
Long Island native Chase Coleman III began his career at Tiger Management, working for Julian Robertson (No. 15 on this list). In 2000, Robertson tasked Coleman with managing $25 million independently, an undertaking he handled with great success.
Several risks ultimately produced high returns, including early investments in Facebook that the company sold in 2013 for $1 billion. Coleman is now a managing partner at the firm.
#24 Larry Robbins
Net Worth: $2.2 billion
Hedge Fund: Glenview Capital
Larry Robbins grew up in a Chicago suburb and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 with both an economics and systems engineering degree.
Early in his career, he worked at Omega Advisors for Leon Cooperman (No. 13 on this list), but left in 2000 to start his own fund. Known for buying and holding stocks for long periods of time, Robbins typically does not use the stop-loss orders popular with other fund managers.
#23 Stephen Mandel, Jr.
Net Worth: $2.3 billion
Hedge Fund: Lone Pine Capital
Stephen Mandel, Jr. attended only the best schools from a young age. An alumnus of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard Business School and Dartmouth, Mandel put in time working at large companies including Mars & Co, Goldman Sachs and Tiger Management for Julian Robertson (No. 15 on this list). He founded his own fund in 1997.
#22 James Dinan
Net Worth: $2.4 billion
Hedge Fund: York Capital
You can’t do much better than a bachelor’s degree from Wharton and a Harvard MBA, and James Dinan put them to good use. Through the 1980s, Dinan spent time in stock research and M&A firms before losing his entire savings in the 1987 stock market crash.
He took what he learned and raised $3.6 million to found York Capital, which has seen great success under Dinan’s leadership. He sold a third of the company to Credit Suisse in 2010 for $425 million and is a part owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
#21 Daniel Loeb
Net Worth: $2.5 billion
Hedge Fund: Third Point LLC
Great-nephew of the creator of Barbie and co-founder of Mattel, and son of a corporate attorney, Daniel Loeb has been around business his entire life. He had a fascination with the stock market from a young age and founded his first company, for skateboards, in high school.
He later founded Third Point Management with $3.3 million from family and friends, and used that seed money to become one of the wealthiest hedge fund managers in the world. He is known for activist investing, particularly in his dealings with Yahoo, Sony and Sotheby’s.
#20 Bill Ackman
Net Worth: $2.5 billion
Hedge Fund: Pershing Square Capital Management
Activist investor Bill Ackman is no stranger to headlines. The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, Ackman is a Harvard alumnus who began his Wall Street career when he founded Gotham Partners with a classmate. Ackman has made headlines in recent years for his criticism of major companies including MBIA in 2010 and Herbalife in 2012.
#19 John Arnold
Net Worth: $2.6 billion
Hedge Fund: Centaurus Advisors (Retired)
John Arnold made his mark in the investment world through energy trading, and in particular, natural gas. A Texas native, Arnold began his career as an analyst at Enron. Upon the company’s failure, Arnold founded Centaurus Advisors and self-funded the company’s start.
A value investor, Arnold was quoted as saying that he tries “to buy things whenever they’re trading below what [his] analysis shows to be fair value, and sell things whenever [his] analysis shows that the forward curve is higher than [his] analysis of fair value.”
#18 Andreas Halvorsen
Net Worth: $2.8 billion
Hedge Fund: Viking Global
Andreas Halvorsen graduated from the Norwegian Naval Academy and served as a Norwegian SEAL team leader before moving to the U.S. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and Stanford business school, and later began his investment banking career at Morgan Stanley before moving to Tiger Management.
He left Tiger to co-found Viking Global Investors in 1999, where he remains CEO with over $30 billion under his management.
#17 Edward Lampert
Net Worth: $2.9 billion
Hedge Fund: ESL Investments
Edward Lampert learned about investing from his grandmother, with whom he would review stock picks in the daily newspaper. After his father’s early passing, Lampert took odd jobs to help support the family. His time on Wall Street began when he worked as an intern at Goldman Sachs. He went out on his own to found ESL Investments in 1988 with $28 million from billionaire investor Richard Rainwater.
Lampert sticks to value investing, a style similar to Warren Buffet. As a major shareholder in Sears Holdings, Lampert took over the Chairman and CEO role of the retail giant in 2013.
#16 Stanley Druckernmiller
Net Worth: $3.1 billion
Hedge Fund: Duquesne Capital (Closed)
After finishing his BA in English and economics from Bowdoin College, Stanley Druckernmiller began work on a three year Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. He dropped out midway through to take a job as an oil analyst for Pittsburgh National Bank and, within one year, he was head of the bank’s equity research group.
He went out on his own in 1981 to found Duquesne Capital, where he saw phenomenal success. Thanks to his work there, he was brought on by George Soros (No. 1 on this list) to manage a fund from 1988 to 2000. Druckernmiller closed his own Duquesne Capital in 2010.
#15 Julian Robertson, Jr.
Net Worth: $3.4 billion
Hedge Fund: Tiger Management
Julian Robertson, Jr. is known not only for his own accomplishments but also for igniting the careers of several other highly successful hedge fund managers. Now retired, Robertson founded Tiger Management Corp. in 1980 after stints as an officer in the U.S. Navy, a stockbroker and a novelist in New Zealand.
Tiger funds grew from $8 million at its founding to over $22 billion in the 1990s. After controversial losses and alleged mismanagement, Tiger Management liquidated and closed in 2000.
#14 Michael Platt
Net Worth: $3.5 billion
Hedge Fund: BlueCrest
Born in England, Michael Platt is the CEO of BlueCrest Capital Management, the third-largest hedge fund in Europe. After graduating with honors from the London School of Economics, Platt spent time at JP Morgan in the 1990s and in 2000, he co-founded BlueCrest with William Reeves. In 2011, Platt declined to manage over $1 billion from George Soros at a discounted fee.
#13 Leon Cooperman
Net Worth: $3.7 billion
Hedge Fund: Omega Advisors
Originally from the South Bronx, Leon Cooperman attended Hunder College, where we was an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, and later earned an MBA from Columbia. He spent over two decades at Goldman Sachs before leaving in 1991 to found Omega Advisors.
Cooperman founded the Goldman Sachs asset management organization, which is still operating today. Now in his seventies, Cooperman remains the CEO and chairman of Omega Advisors, with over $6 billion under management.
#12 Daniel Och
Net Worth: $3.8 billion
Hedge Fund: Och-Ziff
Wharton graduate Daniel Och is a New Jersey native who began his Wall Street career at Goldman Sachs. He left the company in 1994 to found Och-Ziff Capital Management Group with $100 million in funding from the Ziff brothers, heirs to the Ziff publishing fortune, which includes popular titles including Car and Driver and PC Magazine. Och-Ziff went public in 2007 and, as of January 2014, had over $40 billion under its management.
#11 Israel Englander
Net Worth: $3.8 billion
Hedge Fund: Millennium Management
Born and raised in New York, Israel Englander grew up in Brooklyn and attended New York University. He began trading stocks in high school and interned at Oppenheimer & Co. and the New York Stock Exchange during college. His Wall Street career began at Kaufmann, Alsberg & Co., and he eventually purchased a seat on the American Stock Exchange before founding a brokerage in 1977. In 1985, Englander founded an ill-fated investment firm, brought down by his partner John Mulheren Jr.
He started Millennium Partners with $35 million in 1989 with partner Ronald Shear. In the decades since, Millennium Partners has grown to over $20 billion in assets with a focus on arbitrage trading making over two million trades on an average day.
#10 David Shaw
Net Worth: $4.1 billion
Hedge Fund: D.E. Shaw
California native David Elliot Shaw earned a BS from UCSD and a Ph.D. from Stanford in computer science before moving to Wall Street in 1986 as vice president of technology in Morgan Stanley’s automated proprietary trading group.
He founded his own hedge fund, D.E. Shaw, in 1988 using proprietary algorithms for automated trading. His quantitative trading strategy has led to much success and, as of 2012, the firm had $30 billion under management
#9 Paul Tudor Jones II
Net Worth: $4.6 billion
Hedge Fund: Tudor Investment Corporation
Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., Paul Tudor Jones II attended the University of Virginia where he earned a degree in economics and won the school’s welterweight boxing championship. After a short time working on Wall Street trading floors, he was accepted to Harvard Business School but decided not to attend. Instead, he learned the commodity trading business and founded his own investment company in 1980.
The fund’s active trading approach with stocks, currencies, bonds and commodities has allowed Tudor Investment Corp.to grow to over $15 billion under management.
#8 Bruce Kovner
Net Worth: $5 billion
Hedge Fund: Caxton Associates
Raised in New York and Los Angeles, Bruce Kovner was a high-achieving scholar, student-leader and athlete. He attended Harvard College studying political economy. He took $3,000 from his MasterCard in 1977 to trade a soybean futures contract, and watched that $3,000 grow to $40,000 before falling back to $23,000. He took a role as a trader at Commodities Corporation, later purchased by Goldman Sachs, where he earned a reputation for being an objective and risk-aware trader.
He founded Caxton Associates. in 1983 which — at its peak — managed over $14 billion in assets. Kovner retired as Caxton’s CEO in 2011 and founded CAM Capital to manage his own personal investment portfolio.
#7 Ken Griffin
Net Worth: $6.5 billion
Hedge Fund: Citadel
Inspired by a Forbes magazine article, Ken Griffin began investing in 1986 as a freshman at Harvard University. As a college sophomore, Griffin raised $265,000 and founded his first hedge fund, which survived the 1987 stock market crash. Due to his success, Griffin founded a second fund. He graduated from Harvard with about $1 million under management. Upon graduation, prominent investor Frank Meyer provided $1 million to invest, and in 1990 Griffin went on to found Citadel.
A vocal critic of government market regulation, Griffin believes that regulations do not keep up with the speed of changing markets. Griffin gained positive press by creating an employee-focused culture at Citadel, winning a “Top 10 Great Workplaces in Financial Services” ranking in 2015.
#6 David Tepper
Net Worth: $10.4 billion
Hedge Fund: Appaloosa Fund Management
Pennsylvania native David Tepper graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. After a short stint in treasury at Equibank, he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University where he earned a master’s of science in industrial administration. He later spent two years in the treasury department at Republic Steel before moving to Keystone Mutual Funds in 1984 and finally to Goldman Sachs in 1985, where he spent eight years at the high-yield desk.
He left Goldman in 1992 to found Appaloosa Management. His picks have yielded high returns in a variety of stocks and bonds: Tepper’s fund earned a massive $7 billion return in 2009, profiting on the comeback of distressed financial stocks pounded down in the Great Recession.
#5 John Paulson
Net Worth: $11.2 billion
Hedge Fund: Paulson & Co.
Orphaned at age 15, Queens native John Paulson moved to Los Angeles at age 16 and joined the U.S. Army, where he fought in Italy during World War II. Upon his return, Paulson earned an undergraduate degree at NYU and an MBA from Harvard. His investment career began at Boston Consulting Group, which he left to work at Odyssey Partners and later Bear Stearns on Wall Street. He moved on to Gruss Partners, where he became a partner.
In 1994, he founded his hedge fund Paulson & Co. with $2 million to invest in office space rented from Bear Stearns. Paulson specializes in investments related to mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and proxy battles. His fund earned a record $5 billion in 2010, followed by large losses in financial industry investments in 2011.
#4 Steve Cohen
Net Worth: $11.4 billion
Hedge Fund: Point72 Asset Management
A native of Great Neck, N.Y., Steve Cohen grew up an avid poker player, the hobby that he says taught him risk management. He graduated from Wharton in 1978 with limited investment experience. Cohen’s Wall Street career developed at Gruntal & Co., where he rose to lead his own trading group until 1992, when he departed to found SAC Capital Partners with $20 million of his own funds. The firm has grown to manage $14 billion thanks to a successful equity market strategy.
#3 James Simons (Retired)
Net Worth: $14 billion
Hedge Fund: Renaissance Technologies
James Simons earned a bachelor in mathematics from MIT and then a Ph.D. in mathematics from UC Berkeley. Simons worked in a variety of mathematical disciplines before being hired by the NSA in 1964 to work as a code breaker. He went on to teach math at MIT, Harvard and Stony Brook University, where he was appointed chair of the math department. He co-created the Chern-Simons form, a fundamental aspect of string theory.
He founded Renaissance Technologies in 1982, which has grown to manage over $25 billion. He retired in 2009, taking with him a high enough net worth to rank third in the wealthiest hedge fund managers list.
#2 Ray Dalio
Net Worth: $15.4 billion
Hedge Fund: Bridgewater Associates
Ray Dalio began investing at a very early age, buying shares of Northeast Airlines at age 12, eventually tripling his money thanks to a Northeast Airlines merger. After earning a Harvard MBA, he went on to work on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor focusing on commodity futures.
After time at several firms, he founded Bridgewater Associates in 1975. In 2012, Bridgewater became the largest hedge fund in the world, still growing to over $160 billion under management in late 2014. Dalio is notable for predicting the 2007-2008 global financial crisis and amassing a $15.4 billion personal fortune.
#1 George Soros
Net Worth: $24.2 billion
Hedge Fund: Soros Fund Management
Nearly $10 billion ahead of the next wealthiest hedge fund manager, Romanian George Soros has amassed a whopping $24.2 billion as the leader of Soros Fund Management. He is one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world even after donating over $11 billion to philanthropic causes. Soros’s family went into hiding after Nazi Germany occupied Hungary when George was 13 in 1944. The family emigrated to England in 1947, where the impoverished Soros attended the London School of Economics.
Soros worked a variety of odd jobs including time as a railway porter, restaurant waiter and salesman. He wrote letters to every managing director at every merchant bank in London, and his efforts landed him a position at Singer & Friedlander. Soros went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy, also from the London School of Economics.
Soros moved to New York City in 1956, where he continued his career as an arbitrage trader specializing in European stocks. He spent time at three Wall Street firms before founding Soros Fund Management in 1970. Between 1981 and 2011, Soros grew his company’s funds from $200 million under management to $1 billion, taking large payments along the way. In 2011, Soros returned all remaining funds to outside investors and his company continued managing his own family fortune. The 85-year-old is the wealthiest hedge fund manager in the world.