Coleman Leads $23 Billion Payday for 15 Hedge Fund Earners
It’s more than enough money, at going prices, to buy one GameStop, two AMC Entertainments and four Bed Bath & Beyonds.
Not shares -- those darlings of the r/wallstreetbets crowd -– but the entire companies.
The estimated sum is $23.2 billion, and it’s the amount that the hedge fund managers on Bloomberg’s annual list of the top 15 earners collectively made in 2020, a year that will loom large in the annals of Wall Street.
Amid Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Brexit and more, almost all of these money managers would have become billionaires in a single year -- had most of them not been billionaires already. The biggest winner, Chase Coleman, gained $3 billion personally in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The rewards are unlike anything the hedge-fund industry has ever seen. So, too, is the jarring context: the once-in-a-century pandemic, the stay-at-home economy and, now, the spectacle of millions of amateur investors crowd-sourcing their buying power online to battle the pros over GameStop, AMC and other stocks.
That 15 people -- all of them men -- could earn so much so quickly starkly illustrates the widening rift between the ultra-rich and everyone else at a time of heightened unemployment and division over the scope of government response.
It demonstrates “the disconnect between the stock market and the real economy,” said finance professor Reena Aggarwal, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Financial Markets & Policy. While high volatility and low interest rates buoyed hedge funds, much of the population struggled “with worries about health, jobs, mortgage payments and student loans,” she said.