SOURCE: Institutional Investor

Institutional Investor

March 02, 2010 11:38 ET

Billion Dollar Hedge Funds Combined Assets Rise Just 4% in 2009, AR Survey Finds

Largest Firms Nearly Double Assets, JPMorgan Regains Top Spot

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 2, 2010) -  Even after the gains of 2009, the hedge fund industry still has a long way to climb to get back to its peak, with the biggest American hedge fund firms managing 29% less than they did at their all-time high in 2008, according to AR: Absolute Return + Alpha (AR) magazine's biannual Billion Dollar Club survey of U.S. hedge fund firms managing $1 billion or more.

Full results are available online at

As of January 1, the biggest 213 hedge fund firms managed combined assets of $1.182 trillion, a 4.2% increase above what they managed at the beginning of 2009 -- when 218 firms held a combined total of $1.134 trillion -- according to the latest survey, published in the March issue of AR. In July 2008, the industry's peak, the 268 biggest firms managed $1.675 trillion.

A handful of firms managing $5 billion or more nearly doubled their assets from a year ago, suggesting that the big are getting bigger. Scandals may be one reason the brand-name firms managed to grab a greater share of the pie in the second half of 2009, as investors sought the security of large, established shops. Also, a significant portion of the assets garnered in 2009 came from institutional investors redistributing previously allocated assets to long-closed megafunds that had reopened in an attempt to revive assets lost in 2008.

The 143 firms managing below $5 billion increased their assets by $28 billion. 

JPMorgan reclaimed the top spot, surpassing Bridgewater Associates, as the largest hedge fund firm in the United States. The firm now manages $50.4 billion between its JPMorgan Asset Management and Highbridge Capital Management units -- a $17.5 billion increase from the $32.9 billion managed between them in January 2009. 

Bridgewater fell to second place with $43.6 billion, a 17.84% increase from July 2009 when it managed $37 billion. Paulson & Co. remained in third place, with assets increasing 10.35% to $3 billion from the $29 billion it managed in January following strong returns in 2009. Soros Fund Management grew by 28.57% to $27 billion in 2009 and edged D.E. Shaw Group out of fourth place. D.E. Shaw dropped to fifth and was the biggest loser in the top 10, shedding 17.48% of its assets in 2009 to start 2010 with $23.60 billion.

Although still shy of making the top 10, BlackRock's purchase of Barclay's Global Investors resulted in an instant 235.63% increase in assets for the firm. However, the biggest gainer was distressed debt market manager Randall Smith's firm Alden Global Capital, which amassed an increase of 475% on top of its January 2009 assets of $400 million to reach $2.3 billion. Distressed funds were among the biggest winners, as distressed was one of the hottest strategies of 2009.

Full results are available online at

New York remains the center of the hedge fund world, controlling $708 billion, or 60%, of the assets managed by the biggest 213 American hedge funds. Connecticut is the second largest, managing $158.86 billion. Massachusetts surpassed California to take third place with Massachusetts managers now running $87.49 billion.

The AR Billion Dollar Club is the only survey of American hedge fund assets that focuses on the aggregation of January 1 data, which includes the most recent redemptions and allocations, thereby making the survey more current and accurate than those focusing on December 31 numbers.

Full results are available online at

About AR
AR magazine, and its online offering at, features a fresh and much needed link between the hedge fund industry, its users and those who provide advisory, financial, and technological services to the sector. AR is a service of Institutional Investor and HedgeFund Intelligence, divisions of Euromoney Institutional Investor, the international publishing and information company.

See for more information.

Contact Information