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The hedge fund industry’s trade journal has just released its annual figures for hedge fund manager earnings. The big winner for 2010: John Paulson. His winnings: the biggest ever, an incredible $4.9 billion.
The trade journal AR has been tracking hedge fund pay almost since the new century dawned. The first hedge fund manager to break the $1 billion barrier, Edward Lampert, squeaked by with $1.02 billion in 2004.
Here’s how much the annual winners have raked in over the years since:
2005 James Simons, $1.5 billion
2006 James Simons, $1.7 billion
2007 John Paulson, $3.7 billion
2008 James Simons, $2.5 billion
2009 David Tepper, $4 billion
2010 John Paulson. $4.9 billion
The most amazing aspect of all these windfalls? Hedge fund managers enjoy what may be the most outrageous tax loophole ever. The infamous “carried interest” loophole lets them define most of their income as a capital gain.
The result: On every $1 billion in carried interest income, hedge fund managers save $200 million in taxes.