Reading the resignation letter from the former AIG executive who had nothing to do with credit default swaps but has been vilified regardless, you see the other side of the story, a way to feel some sympathy for top financial executives caught in the same crisis that’s dragging all of us down.
But then you find out that even in a year when people saw their retirement and college savings accounts decimated, top hedge fund managers raked in the big bucks, [according](As major markets and economies careened downward last year, 25 top managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion in pay by trading above the pain in the markets, according to an annual ranking of top hedge fund earners by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine, which comes out Wednesday. James H. Simons, a former math professor who has made billions year after year for the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, earned $2.5 billion running computer-driven trading strategies. John A. Paulson, who rode to riches by betting against the housing market, came in second with reported gains of $2 billion. And George Soros, also a perennial name on the rich list of secretive moneymakers, pulled in $1.1 billion. ) to The New York Times.
As major markets and economies careened downward last year, 25 top managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion in pay by trading above the pain in the markets, according to an annual ranking of top hedge fund earners by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine, which comes out Wednesday.
James H. Simons, a former math professor who has made billions year after year for the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, earned $2.5 billion running computer-driven trading strategies. John A. Paulson, who rode to riches by betting against the housing market, came in second with reported gains of $2 billion. And George Soros, also a perennial name on the rich list of secretive moneymakers, pulled in $1.1 billion.
The thing is, we need these same hedge funds to buy up those toxic assets from banks. So it might not be a great idea to start picking on them, even though Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to regulate them and tax their profits. From The Times:
Even as the spotlight intensifies, these hedge fund managers and others who made it through last year with cash on hand are the sort of investors the federal government hopes will step in and buy troubled assets from banks. The richest managers are also in the best position to take advantage of the distressed environment to build their wealth.
“The guys who own the future are the guys like John Paulson and the others on the Alpha list,” said Keith R. McCullough, the chief executive of Research Edge, a firm in New Haven that provides trading analysis for hedge funds. “Ironically enough, we’re going to go beg for capital from the very people we’ve been trying to vilify.”
More evidence of why populist rage exists. And how, in this increasingly complicated crisis, it can be difficult to decide where to direct it.
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