Even with such an exceptionally bad year like 2008, many regular top hedge fund earners still make their billions. James Simons will always stay near the top because of his patented trading software which spots the oversold and overbought areas and ekes out the differences. Still, we should feel sorry for James Simons because he made only $2.5bn in 2008 compared to $3.7bn in 2007. Simons' fund does not take in any more new funds for a number of years already, they manage funds that have stayed invested with them in the first few years of inception and now mainly manages their own employee funds. I think the trading software was so reliable that they can charge a 40% share of profits compared to the usual 20%.
John Paulson continues to make real dough by shorting the mortgage lenders and banks. Soros is still there, great investor indeed. Surprisingly Druckenmiller also made the top ten in 2008. He was Soros' right hand man before striking out on his own.
2007's top earners
p/s photo: Han Chae Young