Rich & Richer: Top-Earning Hedge Fund Managers

For all the talk about CEO pay, it's really small change compared to what some in the hedge fund and private equity fields are earning. Although the contributions of the average hedge fund manager are a lot more evident to investors than that of the typical CEO, big returns on investments bring big payoffs to the managers, never mind investors.

Last year, three hedge fund managers earned one billion dollars or more. Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies topped the list, netting $1.7 billion. That includes the return on his investment in his own fund as well as the 5% management and 44% performance fees he charges investors.

Don't think that Simons and company earned that money sitting down: "We take the view that we will be pursued by a pack of wolves, that we constantly have to run fast just to stay in place."

Also on the list, Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investment Group at $1.4B and Eddie Lampert of ESL Investments at $1.3 billion. George Soros -- remember him? -- pulled down $950 million.

On average, the top 25 managers earned $240 million -- which tops the severance packages of former Home Depot boss Robert Nardelli and ex-Pfizer Chairman and CEO Hank McKinnel.

Michael Peltz, Institutional Investor, Alpha Magazine financial editor talks to Erin Burnett about the top earners.

Top-Earning Hedge Fund Managers

Jim Simons

Renaissance Technologies

$1.7 billion

Kenneth Griffin

Citadel Investment Group

$1.4 billion

Eddie Lampert

ESL Investments

$1.3 billion

George Soros


$950 million