No, not that Paulson. We're talking about John Paulson, the hedge fund manager at Paulson & Co. that, until last year, was a middle of the pack fund manager. No more. Housing Wire was among the first to take notice of Paulson's market positions in the middle of last year, when he started a very public row with Bear Stearns over the issue of loan modifications and tampering with markets. By July of last year, of course, Paulson's critiques were old hat amid a historic implosion of the subprime industry -- leaving his funds in a position to rake in the dough. When we last visited him, Paulson's fund had shot up more than 125 percent on the year. It now turns out he ended the year off even better, according to a Reuters story published Monday:
John Paulson, who ran a medium-sized fund until last year, zoomed to the top of the industry's earnings table when he took home an estimated $3 billion in 2007, double what the top earner made in 2006, according to data released by magazine Trader Monthly on Monday. By standing conventional wisdom on its head and deciding that housing prices could decline on a national level, and that investment-grade mortgage bonds would be subject to default in record numbers, Paulson, 52, set a new record for payouts on Wall Street, industry analysts said. Paulson's $3 billion payout is equivalent to $26 for every U.S. household (114.4 million in 2006).
We haven't heard where Paulson's Credit Opportunities Fund is positioned these days, but we'll see if our sources on the Street can tease that one apart.