Facebook Twitter



George Soros did in five minutes what it took the average American family all year to accomplish in 1992.

A manager of more than $7 billion in mutual fund assets, Soros was Wall Street's highest earner last year, taking home $650 million to finish atop Financial World magazine's annual survey of the 100 highest-paid people on Wall Street.By comparison, the median U.S. family made about $19,000 last year, according to the magazine's July 6 issue, scheduled for release Wednesday.

Michael Steinhardt, another fund manager, came in second with $250 million. Cleveland-based real estate investor Alfred Lerner was third with $139 million.

To qualify for this year's list, earners had to make at least $6 million, 20 percent more than last year. This year's median income of the top 100 was $10 million, about $1 million more than in 1991.

The Hungarian-born Soros, 62, invests much of his and his funds' assets in currencies and exotic securities known as derivatives. He earned more than $400 million in capital gains by rarely holding positions more than a few days. His best performing fund was the Quantum Fund, up 68.1 percent after charging a 1 percent management fee and taking out 15 percent of appreciation.

Soros' share of his firm's incentive fees added $200 million while management fees - which he awards to himself - amounted to another $50 million.

Soros recently formed a $775 million partnership with British Land to invest in properties. He has also used some of his wealth to help the needy in Central and Eastern Europe. He pledged $100 million toward scientific research in the Commonwealth of Independent States last year, gave $50 million to Bosnia and financed a $25 million loan to purchase heating oil to help Macedonians survive the winter.

This year, Soros' investment strategies have widely influenced world financial markets. In April, reports that Soros bought a 10 percent interest in Newmont Mining Corp., and funneled $300 million of the proceeds into options on gold bullion, sparked a powerful rally in gold prices.

Steinhardt, 53, manager of Steinhardt Partners, Institutional Partners and S.P. International, also realized huge gains on his own capital. His New York firm manages more than $3 billion. He was helped by Europe's currency crisis, the U.S. bond market rally and a large stake in Sunbeam-Oster.

Lerner made $96.6 million by selling more than half of his stake in Progessive Corp. and earned another $42.5 million for portfolio management duties. However, $10 million of that was termination pay because Lerner resigned as Progessive's chief investment strategist after shareholders complained of weak returns.

Rounding out the top 10 are: Julian Robertson Jr. of Tiger Management, $120 million; Soros' triggerman Stanley Druckenmiller, $110 million; Bruce Kovner of Caxton Corp., $100 million; Paul Tudor Jones II of Tudor Investment, $85 million; Louis Bacon of Moore Capital Management, $35 million; and Henry Kravis and George Roberts, both of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, at $33 million apiece.