Wall Street was road to riches for elite in '92

June 16, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,Financial WorldNew York Bureau

NEW YORK -- Currency wars and a record year for Wall Street firms helped boost the earnings of the Street's top dogs to stratospheric levels last year, according to a published report released yesterday.

In its annual ranking of the financial community's top earners, Financial World placed investment guru George Soros in the top place with a record $650 million, beating junk bond king Michael Milken, who was estimated to have made $500 million in one year before being convicted in 1990 of conspiring to violate securities and tax laws.

Among the usual group of fund managers who pay themselves && piles of dough to manage other people's money was an unusual figure, MNC Financial Inc. Chairman and Cleveland Browns part-owner Alfred Lerner, who landed in third place with $139 million for running a friend's bond fund.

Mr. Lerner was invited by friend Peter Lewis, who runs Progressive Corp., a large auto insurer, to invest $75 million in a Progressive bond fund in 1988 -- and manage it. Last year, Mr. Lerner unloaded 60 percent of his stake for $96.6 million and earned $42.5 million for managing the portfolio.

Mr. Lerner's place among Wall Street's elite was likely to be his last: Included in the $42.5 million is $10 million in termination pay from Cleveland-based Progressive. Under fire from Progressive shareholders for poor returns, Mr. Lerner was forced to bow out.

Mr. Lerner's ranking, like the others on the list, included only money earned through investing.

His work for MNC or as chairman of MBNA Corp. was not included in the total.

Interestingly, the top of the heap did not work for the huge brokeragehouses but managed their own funds.

"If you want to make real money on Wall Street, you have to have your own fund so you keep what you make and have a hefty fee structure to ensure that you make a lot," said Stephen Taub, managing editor of Financial World.

Mr. Soros, for example, has $800 million of his own money in his funds, in addition to $4 billion of other people's money that he manages. His own investments ensure that his earnings far exceed the $200 million in money management fees that he collects.

A notable change in Financial World's list was how far down the leveraged buyout heroes of the 1980s have fallen. Henry Kravis and George Roberts -- immortalized as the heads of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in the best-seller "Barbarians at the Gate" -- made only about $33 million each, down from $45 million each last year and $80 million each in 1990.

The Financial World survey of Wall Street's top 100 will be included in its July 6 edition, which goes on sale in 10 days.


Based on Financial World magazine's annual rankings, which will appear in its July 6 issue.

Name .. .. .. .. .. .. Company Name.. .. .. ..Earnings*

George Soros .. .. .. .Soros Fund Management..$650,000,000

Michael Steinhardt.. ..Steinhardt Management..250,000,000

Alfred Lerner .. .. .. Private investor.. .. .139,000,000

Julian Robertson Jr.. .Tiger Management.. .. .120,000,000

Stanley Druckenmiller..Soros Fund Management..110,000,000

Bruce Kovner .. .. .. .Caxton Corp.. .. .. .. 100,000,000

Paul Tudor Jones II .. Tudor Investment.. .. .85,000,000

Louis Bacon .. .. .. ..Moore Capital Manage.. 35,000,000

Henry Kravis .. .. .. .Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.33,000,000

George Roberts .. .. ..Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.33,000,000

* Minimum


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