One day after a story came out about Wall Street bonuses, today's story is about the hefty paychecks earned by hedge funds managers in 2011.
According to a new Forbes survey, among the top 40 hedge fund managers with the greatest earnings, together they grabbed $13.2 billion in paychecks last year. Within the top 10 earners, they each brought home more than $200 million while lower on the earnings ladder, some managers "only" made $40 million.
These high salaries came against the backdrop of a bad year for the industry with hedge funds declining 5 percent on average, while the U.S. stock market fared a little better with a small gain.
So who's the top 2011 earner? Raymond Dalio, from the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, grabbed the top spot as he generated $13.8 billion for his clients last year. He has $120 billion in assets with personal earnings of $3 billion.
Coming in behind Dalio was James Simons of Renaissance Technologies; he earned $2.1 billion. Forbes has called Simons a "mathematical genius." As the founder of Renaissance, he invests his personal funds and last year, the firm's funds saw net returns rise 33 percent.
Carl Icahn also had a great year from his firm, Icahn Capital Management. He had 35 percent returns and personally brought home $2 billion after betting successfully on Motorola Mobility and El Paso.
Other managers found saw success without double-digit returns for their funds. SAC Capital Advisors fund rose 8 percent in 2011 and its manager Steve Cohen made $600 million, according to Forbes.
In addition to his hefty earnings, Cohen has been in the news recently from improper trading allegations at his firm. One of his analysts had been arrested and in January, he had been accused of insider trading.
Additional managers riding out last year's challenging markets to make the Forbes list included David Einhorn ($80 million), Boaz Weinstein ($90 million) and John Thaler.
On the other side of the pond, European hedge fund manager Alan Howard of Howard Asset Manager, who resides in Geneva, was the highest earner in 2011 at $400 million. His $26 billion fund returned a net 12.14 percent.
The firm could see continued growth this year as it will keep hiring as employees are leaving their traditional investment bank jobs in light of the Volcker Rule, according to Reuters.
And on a final note, while it's been great to see the top earners, it's also interesting to see who didn't make the top 40 list. Notably missing in 2011 were managers John Paulson and Philip Falcone; they have made billions of dollars in the past thanks to the market for subprime mortgages.