Denne artikkelen er skrevet av Dan McCrum for Financial Times (se faktaboks til høyre).

Ray Dalio, head of Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund, personally made $3.9bn in a year that his $70bn Pure Alpha fund produced $13.8bn of investment profits for its investors, according to industry rankings.

He tops a list published Friday by Absolute Return magazine of the richest 25 hedge fund managers. The select group took home $14.4bn in pay and paper profits on their own investments last year, down from $22bn in 2010 in a sign of the industry's struggle to deliver returns for its clients in 2011.

Closed funds
The list is also a poor advert for the sector, as four of the top five managers made their money from funds closed to new investors. And it was only in January that all the investors in Citadel, the only open fund, run by fourth-placed Ken Griffin, finally recovered losses sustained during the financial crisis.

The average haul for the 25 was $576m, down from $880m in 2010, in a volatile year when the average hedge fund lost 2 per cent of its investors' money.

This illustrates the gulf in pay between the top ranks of a diminished banking sector and riches still available from hedge funds. Mr Dalio's estimated pay was 480 times the $8.1m received by Brian Moynihan, chief executive of Bank of America, even as his package quadrupled from the year before.

Larry Fink, head of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and one of the best paid executives in finance, earned $22m in 2011.

Gives half to charity
Bridgewater manages about $70bn in hedge fund assets and another $50bn in "beta" products, mainly for pension funds. Mr Dalio is judged the most successful manager of all time in terms of absolute profits by LCH Investments. He has also signed the giving pledge to donate half of his wealth to charity.

Second and third place went to two hedge fund managers who have retired. Carl Icahn made $2.5bn after returning the outside capital in his fund to investors early last year. James Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies, made $2.1bn.

Renaissance manages around $11bn in three funds open to the public, but its wildly successful Medallion fund has been closed to outsiders for over a decade.

Steven Cohen of SAC Capital was in fifth place at $585m.

The highest place fund manager based outside the US was Alan Howard of Brevan Howard Asset Management, who made $350m last year. Entry to the select club required a manager to make at least $100m.

All of the funds declined to comment.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012

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