Saturday, April 02, 2011

Coinage Coinage: An SEC ain't an SEC any More

A few days ago I made a snide crack on the comparison between hedge fund manager earnings and the budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Looking back, I think I was too restrained.  Turns out that John Paulson, the Hedgo do Tutti Hedgi actually earned something in excess of four  times the SEC annual budget.  That pegs the SEC budget at $1.2 billion (it may go up next year); Paulson reportedly earned $4.9 billion.  More generally, we learn that the top 25 hedge fund managers together earned as much as 441,000 ordinary folks.

Playing the ludicrous comparison game is itself nothing new (see, e.g., link), but here's a thought; couldn't just turn it into a measuring stick?  With Pauslon at $4.9 bill and the SEC at $1.2, we can say that Paulson earned 4.08 SECs.  The top 25 hedgies together, with their aggregate $22.07 bill, earned 18.39 SECs.  Leon Cooperman, with a lousy $240 million, rings in at 20 percent of an SEC--not even a two-bit player.

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