Bridgewater Associates LP's Pure Alpha hedge fund made $13.8 billion for its investors last year, while Paulson & Co. lost clients almost $10 billion after an unsuccessful wager that the U.S. economy would recover, according to a report by LCH Investments NV.
Pure Alpha has earned $35.8 billion for investors since its inception in 1975, said LCH, a firm overseen by the Edmond de Rothschild Group. Losses for New York-based Paulson last year cut gains the firm has made for clients since its 1994 founding to $22.6 billion, LCH estimated.
Bridgewater, based in Westport, Conn., of which Ray Dalio is president and co-chief investment officer, has about $120 billion of assets and uses a macro strategy to try to profit from economic trends. It made money in 2011 with diversified bets after predicting a flight by other investors to safer assets such as U.S. Treasuries and German bonds, standing out in a year when hedge funds lost 5.2% on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Paulson posted a record loss of 51% in one of its biggest funds.
“Macro investing is notoriously difficult, but the best managers are able to find opportunities, especially in troubled markets,” London-based Rick Sopher, LCH's chairman, said in the report. Funds lost a net $123 billion, LCH estimated.
LCH's research on the 10 most profitable hedge funds ever shows such firms earned clients a net $3.1 billion in 2011. Other money-making hedge funds on the list included Brevan Howard Asset Management LP's Master Fund with $3.2 billion of gains and Baupost Group LLC with $400 million. Brevan Howard, based in London, was started in 2003 by former Credit Suisse AG trader Alan Howard and Seth Klarman founded Boston-based Baupost in 1983.
LCH said its analysis of how much hedge funds made for investors after charging performance and management fees is based on discussions with the funds, audited reports issued by the firms and confidential sources. The total typically includes a manager's investment in his own firm.
Funds that lost money last year include Paulson with $9.6 billion, George Soros' Quantum Fund with $3.8 billion, David Tepper's Appaloosa Management LP with $800 million and Louis Bacon's Moore Capital Management LLC with $300 million, according to LCH.