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Hedge-Fund Pay May Fall 25% in 2009 as Fees Evaporate

Bloomberg – Compensation for U.S. hedge-fund employees may drop as much as 25 percent this year as the firms try to recoup last year’s investment losses.

The decline will cut hedge-fund paychecks to about half the record levels of 2007, according to estimates by Alan Johnson, founder of Johnson Associates Inc., a New York-based compensation-consulting firm whose clients include financial- services companies.

About 70 percent of the industry’s 6,800 so-called single- manager funds lost money in 2008 with the average fund dropping 19 percent, according to data compiled by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. That means most clients don’t have to pay performance fees — generally 20 percent of profits — until the losses are made up. Many owners of the private partnerships will cover salaries out of their own pockets, or from pools set aside in previous years, to keep their best employees, Johnson said.

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