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Rewarding poor performance

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Here’s a surprise. According to the Financial Times, assets at the largest U.S. hedge funds grew by more than a third last year, despite heavy redemptions and less than stellar performance. The paper says three of the 10 largest funds lost a combined $24 billion in assets.

JPMorgan retained its position as the largest U.S. hedge fund manager, with $44.7 billion under management. This occurred even though it lost $8.5 billion in assets over the course of the year. The Times also says Goldman Sachs lost heavily as a result of problems at its flagship alpha fund and two quant equity funds that fell victim to heightened market volatility.

But John Paulson, you might remember, bet big on a decline in the subprime mortgage sector. After many sleepless nights and rolls of antacids, it paid off. So not surprisingly, the biggest winner in terms of asset growth was Paulson and Company, which entered the top 10 for the first time after its assets soared 306 percent last year to $29 billion, according to the paper.