World's top 25 hedge fund bosses take home combined annual earnings of eight BILLION pounds (and that was considered a bad year)
- Combined earnings of top hedge fund earners almost halved this year
- But top three earners in the industry still earn more than some countries
- US financier who took home around £850million ($1.3billion) is top earner
- Salary monitoring group say huge wages show industry is 'dysfunctional'
The top 25 hedge fund managers in the world earned a combined £8billion ($12billion) last year with some taking home nearly a billion pounds each in salaries, investments and bonuses.
Incredibly, the huge windfalls were actually seen as a bad year for the financiers, with the combined amount made by the top 25 falling from a total of £14billion ($21billion) the previous year.
Money managers had to earn a massive £115million ($175million) in 2014 just to qualify for the top 25, some of whose members earned the same as the GDP of a small country.
Ken Griffin (left) and James Simons (right) were the highest paid hedge fund bosses in the world last year. The top 25 financiers in the industry took home a combined £8billion ($12billion)
Ken Griffin was the highest-earning hedge fund boss, making around £850million ($1.3billion) and adding to his estimated worth of £4.4million ($6.6billion).
Mr Griffin runs the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, which invests around £16.5billion ($25billion) worldwide.
The 46-year-old is currently locked in a bitter divorce battle with his estranged wife Anne Dias Griffin who has accused of him of failing 'maintain his children's lifestyles'.
The second biggest earner, according to industry magazine Alpha's annual rich list, was James Simons, a 77-year-old mathematician who made £800million ($1.2billion) last year.
Ray Dalio (left) was the third highest paid hedge fund manager, followed by Bill Ackman (right) in fourth
The mathematician, who once worked for the US defence department, founded Renaissance Technologies in 1982, which now handles around £15billion ($20billion).
The third biggest earner was Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, which is the biggest hedge fund in the world and handles more than £100billion ($150billion).
WORLD'S RICHEST: THE 10 HIGHEST-EARNING HEDGE FUND MANAGERS
1. Ken Griffin - Citadel - £850million ($1.3million)
2. James Simons - Renaissance Technologies - £800million ($1.2billion)
3. Ray Dalio - Bridgewater - £720million ($1.1billion)
4. William Ackman - Pershing Square - £625million ($950million)
5. Israel Englander - Millennium - £590million ($900million)
6. Michael Platt - BlueCrest - £525million ($800million)
7. Larry Robbins - Glenview - £375million ($570million)
8. David Shaw - D.E. Shaw Group - £350million ($530million)
9. Ole Andreas Halvorsen - Viking Global - £295million ($450million)
10. Charles Coleman III - Tiger Global - £280million ($425million)
The son of a jazz musician, Mr Dalio, who started trading stocks while still studying at college as is now the 29th richest man in the US, made £720million ($1.1billion).
The pay of the top three men means they each earned more last year than the GDP of 14 countries, including the West African nation of Gambia or the south Pacific island of Tonga.
In fourth place was so-called 'activist investor' Bill Ackman, who earned £625million ($950million) from his fund Pershing Square Capital Management.
He has campaigned against financial firms he believes behave irresponsibly and has previously given huge amounts to charity.
But not everybody is celebrating the huge pay cheques. The High Pay Centre, a think-tank which monitors top salaries, says the amounts are obscene.
Deputy Director Luke Hildyard said: 'When nearly £8billion ($12billion) shared across 25 people represents a pay cut, it's a sign that an industry is seriously dysfunctional.
'Hedge Funds have arguably prospered because of rising inequality - they act as somewhere for the super-rich to park their wealth and there is a lot of concern about their transparency.
'Unfortunately, because of the hedge fund sector's immense political power, efforts to reform it seem unlikely.'
Hedge funds are estimated to have taken in an estimated £12billion ($18billion) in extra money this year
Born in Florida, Mr Griffin started investing while studying at Harvard, where he is said to have installed a satellite dish on the roof of his dorm to speed up his connection to the stock market.
He founded Citadel in 1990 and the company now has three large funds, all of which beat the market last year.
His huge wealth has led to a nasty divorce row with his wife Anne Dias Griffin however.
They former couple are currently locked in a legal battle over her claims to $1million-a-month maintenance payments.
Mr Griffin has donated $150million to his former university and $10million to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where he lives.
James Simons was born in Massachusetts in 1938, the son of a shoe factory owner. After studying at MIT, he got a doctorate in mathematics from Berkeley aged just 23.
He was signed up as an advanced code-breaker for the US National Security Agency at 26.
Aged 44, he founded Renaissance Technologies, which has become one of the world’s most successful hedge funds.
He spent some of his fortune on a huge super-yacht, which he named after Greek mathematician Archimedes.
Father-of-three Mr Simons is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and set up Math for America, an organisation which helps improve maths teaching in schools.
The son of a New York jazz musician, Ray Dalio reportedly starting buying shares aged just 12.
He is a Harvard-educated former futures trader who cut his teeth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
The 65-year-old found wider fame in 2013, when he made a 30-second YouTube video called How The Economic Machine Works, which has been viewed nearly two million times.
He has become known for his philosophical approach to economics and the attention to detail with which he runs his firm, reportedly once bringing up the poor quality of cafeteria peas in an important executive meeting.
He reportedly once compared his fund, Bridgewater, to a pack of hyenas feeding on a young wildebeest.
Also a Harvard graduate, Bill Ackman set up his first fund, Gotham Partners, aged 26 with a former university classmate.
He has since become well-known for series of public attacks on financial organisations.
An early battle he had with the Municipal Bond Insurance Association (MBIA), was turned into a book called Confidence Game by Christine Richard.
He has waged a long-running campaign against nutrition company Herbalife, which he described as a pyramid scheme.
Mr Ackman is a signatory to the giving pledge, a group of philanthropists who have vowed to give half of their wealth to good causes. He has supported a number charities including the Center for Jewish History, Human Rights Watch and the Innocence Project, which campaigns for those said to be wrongly convicted.
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