A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 10, 2011

"But Where Are the Customers' Yachts?" Forbes Billionaires List Contains 65 Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers

It is a classic story of of the 1920s. Just prior to the stock market crash that set off the Great Depression, New York Stock Exchange President Richard Whitney was being given a tour of the harbor in an exclusive enclave close to New York. His host pointed to the yachts filling the port and began to list which ones belonged to bankers, which to investment managers and which to brokers. "But where," asked Whitney, "are the customers' yachts?"

Forbes magazines has just released its annual list of the world's billionaires. It should come as no surprise that despite the financial crisis, the ensuing recession and even the anemic stab at financial regulation, 65 of those billionaires are hedge fund and private equity managers. An interesting question that may be asked eventually is at what point, if ever, will those not on the list be sufficiently discomfitted by this news that they begin to ask another question made famous during such an earlier time, "Where's mine?"

FinAlternatives names the names:

"Four years ago, he wasn't even a billionaire. But today, John Paulson is the richest alternative investments mogul in the world, according to Forbes magazine's latest roster of global billionaires.

With a net worth of $16 billion—$4 billion more than a year ago—the Paulson & Co. chief displaced George Soros as the richest hedge fund manager this year. Paulson places 39th overall on a list once again topped by Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim HelΓΊ with $74 billion.

There are 1,210 billionaires in the world today, 109 more than last year. The group has a combined net worth of $4.5 trillion.

No fewer than 65 of those billionaires have ties to the alternative investments industry. And six of them are worth at least 10 figures: In addition to Paulson, the alternatives players with at least $10 billion in assets were Michael Dell, who made his fortune in computers but has expanded into hedge funds, with $14.6 billion, Soros Fund Management's George Soros with $14.5 billion, Icahn Enterprises' Carl Icahn with $12.5 billion, MacAndrews & Forbes' Ronald Perelman with $12 billion and retired Renaissance Technologies chief James Simons with $10.6 billion.

As would be expected with a list that grew as much as this one, there are a few new faces: Noam Gottesman of GLG Partners comes in with $1.4 billion, Sandell Asset Management founder Thomas Sandell makes the grade this year with $1.1 billion in net worth, and Trian Partners' Nelson Peltz just makes the cut with a bare-minimum $1 billion. And J.W. Henry & Co. founder and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is back, also at the $1 billion level.

At least one hedge fund manager fell from the list: Maverick Capital Management's Sam Wyly, who capped a year in which he was charged with fraud by losing his status as a billionaire. Another nearly tumbled off the list: The Blackstone Group's Peter Peterson, who saw his net worth halved last year to just $1 billion.

A handful of alternative investments figures saw their bank accounts rise by at least $1 billion, in addition to Paulson. Simons is $2.1 billion richer, Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio and Icahn are both $2 billion richer, Steven Cohen is $1.6 billion richer and David Tepper is $1.5 billion richer.

'Alternative Investment' Billionaires

rank billionaire alternatives firm net worth (billions)
39 John Paulson Paulson & Co. $16.0
44 Michael Dell MSD Capital $14.6
35 George Soros Soros Fund Management $14.0
61 Carl Icahn Icahn Associates $12.5
64 Ronald Perelman MacAndrews & Forbes $12.0
74 James Simons Renaissance Technologies $10.6
114 Steven Cohen SAC Capital Advisors $8.0
162 Ray Dalio Bridgewater Associates $6.0
169 Stephen Schwarzman The Blackstone Group $5.9
208 David Tepper Appaloosa Management $5.0
208 Samuel Zell Equity Group Investments $5.0
235 Bruce Kovner Caxton Associates $4.5
268 Daniel Ziff Och-Ziff Capital Management $4.0
268 Dirk Ziff Och-Ziff Capital Management $4.0
268 Robert Ziff Och-Ziff Capital Management $4.0
281 Henry Kravis KKR $3.9
297 George Roberts KKR $3.7
304 Edward Lampert ESL Investments $3.6
310 Leon Black Apollo Management $3.5
336 John Arnold Centaurus Energy $3.3
336 Paul Tudor Jones II Tudor Investment Corp. $3.3
336 Daniel Och Och-Ziff Capital Management $3.3
347 Ronald Burkle Yucaipa Cos. $3.2
440 David Rubenstein The Carlyle Group $2.6
459 Stanley Druckenmiller Duquesne Capital Management $2.5
488 Tom Gores Platinum Equity $2.4
512 Kenneth Griffin Citadel Investment Group $2.3
512 Julian Robertson Tiger Management $2.3
540 Nicolas Berggruen Alpha Investment Management $2.2
540 William Conway The Carlyle Group $2.2
540 Daniel D'Aniello The Carlyle Group $2.2
540 Philip Falcone Harbinger Capital Management $2.2
540 David Shaw D.E. Shaw Group $2.2
595 David Bonderman TPG Capital $2.0
651 James Coulter TPG Capital $1.9
651 Israel Englander Millennium Partners $1.9
651 Wilbur Ross WL Ross & Co. $1.9
692 Leon Cooperman Omega Advisors $1.8
692 Alan Howard Brevan Howard Asset Management $1.8
736 George Argyros Westar Capital $1.7
736 Louis Bacon Moore Capital Management $1.7
736 Glenn Dubin Highbridge Capital Management $1.7
736 Stephen Mandel Lone Pine Capital $1.7
736 Jonathan Nelson Providence Equity Partners $1.7
782 Richard Chilton Chilton Investment Co. $1.6
782 Theodore Forstmann Forstmann Little $1.6
782 Alec Gores Gores Group $1.6
833 Thomas Barack Colony Capital $1.5
833 James Dinan York Capital Management $1.5
833 Marc Lasry Avenue Capital Management $1.5
833 Marc Rowan Apollo Management $1.5
879 Noam Gottesman GLG Partners $1.4
879 Michael Hintze CQS $1.4
879 Thomas Lee Lee Equity Partners $1.4
879 T. Boone Pickens BP Capital $1.4
993 Joshua Harris Apollo Management $1.2
993 Bruce Karsh Oaktree Capital Management $1.2
993 Howard Marks Oaktree Capital Management $1.2
993 C. Dean Metropoulos Metropoulos & Co. $1.2
993 Henry Swieca Highbridge Capital Management $1.2
1057 Thomas Sandell Sandell Asset Management $1.1
1140 John Henry John W. Henry & Co. $1.0
1140 Nelson Peltz Trian Partners $1.0
1140 Peter Peterson The Blackstone Group $1.0


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