Top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015. Top earners, Kenneth Griffin and James Simons, made $1.7bn each despite ‘hedge fund killing field’ on Wall Street where many companies lost billions or closed. Kenneth Griffin, founder and chief executive of Citadel, and James Simons, founder and chairman of Renaissance Technologies, raked in the equivalent to the annual salaries of 112,000 people taking home the US federal minimum wage of $15,080.
Griffin is the richest man in Illinois with a $7.5bn fortune according to Forbes, has donated more than $3m into the failed campaigns of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. He was also the biggest single donor to Rahm Emanuel’s successful campaign for a second term as mayor of Chicago. When Emanuel announced the closure of 50 schools, Griffin said he should have closed 125.
Simons has made an estimated $15.5bn from Renaissance Technologies the mathematics-driven “quant” hedge fund he set up 34 years ago. Simons donated $13m to Cruz’s failed campaign. With Cruz out of the race, Renaissance has switched donations to Hillary Clinton, with more than $2m donated so far. Euclidean Capital, Simon’s family office, has donated more than $7m to Clinton. Simons is the 50th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. His earnings last year were so large that if he were a country it would rate as the world’s 178th most productive nation, according to the World Bank’s GDP rankings.