Bill Ackman Joins Ranks of Most Successful Hedge Fund Managers

BILL ACKMAN screen shot

Besides climbing to the top of the hedge fund world, activist investor Bill Ackman has become one of the most successful hedge fund managers of all time after his Pershing Square made huge profits from big bets on U.S. stocks in 2014.

Ackman’s 33 percent return in 2014 placed him 19th out of the top 20 funds based on the total amount of net profits they made for investors after fees, the Financial Times said.

Ackman was the only new name on the annual list compiled by LCH Investments, the fund of hedge funds run by the Edmond de Rothschild group. He has generated $11.6 billion in returns since Pershing Square was launched in 2004, the report said.

The top 20 managers generated $25.2 billion in profits net of fees in 2014, while the wider hedge fund industry made net gains of $71 billion, LCH said, according to the Times.

Ackman, 48, is the youngest manager on the list, and Pershing Square is the youngest fund, the Times said.

Veteran hedge fund manager George Soros remained at the top of the list after his Quantum fund reclaimed the position from Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater in 2013, the report said..

Soros, who closed his $30.9 billion fund to non-family members at the end of 2011, has largely delegated investment responsibilities to CEO Scott Bessent but remains involved in decisionmaking. Quantum generated $2.3 billion in returns last year, according to the data, the Times said.

Meanwhile, John Paulson, who vaulted into the ranks of the best performing managers after making large wagers against the U.S. subprime market before 2008, was the biggest loser in cash terms, suffering a $1.9 billion net loss, but remains third on the list, the Times said.

Another report said Ackman is on top of the hedge-fund world.

Thanks in part to his move on drug company Allergan, the maker of Botox, Pershing Square posted a return of 32.8 percent for the first 10 months of 2014, making it the No. 1 fund among Bloomberg Markets’ best-performing large hedge funds, the Washington Post said.

In April, Ackman stunned Wall Street with news that he had acquired almost 10 percent of Allergan’s stock and was backing Valeant in a $46 billion bid to take over the company. Allergan’s stock climbed, and Ackman’s stake rose by close to $1 billion within weeks, the report said.

In November, Allergan escaped Valeant and Pershing Square by signing a merger agreement, valued at $66 billion, with rival drug company Actavis. In seven months, Pershing Square’s Allergan stake had risen in value by more than $2 billion, to $5.7 billion, the Post said.

Now, Ackman has more than $18 billion to work with, up from $11.5 billion as 2014 began, the report said.




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