The world's largest hedge fund paid $79.3 billion dollars to its main investor last year, as announced to the press and reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning.
It followed classic hedge-fund strategies. It's leveraged about 55 to 1, meaning that for every dollar of capital it borrows 55 dollars to fund 56 dollars of investments. Its borrowing is mainly overnight debt. It used that money to make aggressive bets in long-run government bonds, as well as strong speculative positions in mortgage-backed securities and direct distressed lending. Lately it's been putting bigger bets on loans to Europe and currency swaps. (Balance sheet here.)
The payout was actually conservative, as it reflected only the greater interest payments earned on its portfolio of assets and realized gains, not the substantial unrealized capital gains it made over the last year as long-term bond prices rose.
Who is this miraculous fund? Why our own Federal Reserve of course!
~ John Cochrane, from The World's Biggest Hedge Fund