The combined earnings of the world's top 25 hedge fund managers of more than $14 billion exceeded the national income of Jordan last year and three individuals took home more than $1 billion, according to the biggest annual industry survey.
The survey by Alpha Magazine put Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies on earnings of $1.7 billion, Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group on $1.4 billion and Eddie Lampert of ESL Investments on $1.3 billion. The previous year, two managers, Mr Simons and the septuagenarian T Boone Pickens of BP Capital Management, topped the $1 billion mark.
The ability of individuals to generate so much capital flow in their own personal direction staggers me. Either the volume and/or the percentage return are so far beyond the numbers I ever even hear about as to be breathtaking.
For example, I know the names of a few of shrewd & hard-working commercial real estate brokers here in Seattle who (I surmise) probably sell a hundred million dollars of real estate in a typically good year. That means a personal income to the individual of perhaps $2-3 million dollars a year, after the commissions are split with "the house" and the other broker. That's a lot of money and they work fairly hard for it...at least 40 hours a week. I commend them.
So consider the scale of making a billion dollars a year. Both the scale of the transaction and the percentage which the individual draws from the transaction (they are all transaction-based, I am sure) are wildly beyond my own personal imagination.